Inaugural East Main Street Arts & Music Festival Deemed Success
By Mark Fadden
Posted on May 09, 2016, May 09, 2016
Inaugural East Main Street

Local band, The ER Project, plays on the main stage by Mavericks Bar and Grill.

It was one of those blink and you might miss it type of events. But if you did, then you missed one heck of a good time.

Tucked back on East Main Street in Arlington between Mary Street and Mavericks Bar and Grill, the inaugural East Main Street Art & Music Festival took place Saturday, May 7. Nearly 70 art-filled booths lined both sides of the street along with three music stages that featured 19 local music acts.

"When we first started planning this event, we designed the space to accommodate 40 booths and 500 visitors," said event organizer Amanda James. "Thanks to putting out a call to artists on our Facebook page, we not only got more artists than we expected, but estimates put us at more than 1,200 visitors to the event, which is awesome."

James is a member of Arlington Proud, which promotes economic and community development and was the driving force behind the festival. Arlington Proud has sponsored art events in the past, but they were always inside and much smaller, she said.

"We knew that in order to go big and get exposure, we needed to get outside," she said. Due to the event's success, James and other Arlington Proud members are already planning next year's event.

Inaugural East Main Street

Artist Amy Stephens booth

Art meets business

While the weather couldn't have been better, the art that was the star of the festival. There were all types of art and artists on display, including painters, sculptures, a tent to get henna tattoos and even a spot where you, or at least a part of you, could become the art.

Husband and wife Robert and Jeanne Naini of north Arlington operated the Wax Impressions booth where patrons could dip their hands into paraflex wax to make custom molds that would then be filled and turned into unique works of art.

"My wife is the brainchild of it," Robert Naini said. "She worked at Ripley's Believe or Not where they do a similar process and thought it would be great to bring it out to festivals so more people could do it."

Their business has done so well that the Naini's are currently looking for a permanent space in Arlington.

Inaugural East Main Street

Arlington residents Marilyn Land and Emily Money help create a unique piece of wax art at the Wax Impressions booth.

Another local artist, Justin Simmons, had his unique hip-hop inspired art on display as well. "As a kid, I was involved in graffiti, but quickly realized that it was the wrong way to express myself," Simmons said. "A friend told me I should start doing my work on canvas and that's what I did."

Simmons has not only had his work on display at several local galleries, he also designed the "America's Pastime" star near Globe Life Park in Arlington that was part of the Arlington Museum of Art's "Star of Texas' project.

Local businesses also benefitted by the draw of festival patrons. Division Brewing and Mavericks Bar and Grill, which were sponsors of the event, were busy all day long.

"We've had more than 250 people come through so far," said Wade Wadlington, owner and head brewer of Division Brewery, which recently opened on New Year's Eve 2015. "I live in north Arlington and it's a great thing to see so many people come out for community events like this one."


Local artist Justin Collins displays his hip-hop inspired work.

Downtown Arlington
Community, News