An Occasion for the Arts Unveils Changes for 2015

AOFTA_2015Passport An Occasion for the Arts’ new Passport will help guests discover all the various facets of this year’s event. Patrons who submit a completed Passport will be entered into daily drawings for free art at the show.

WILLIAMSBRG, VA — A behind-the-scenes peek at the major planning taking place for Williamsburg’s premier art and music festival, An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA), reveals a colorful composition of deep tradition stylized with fresh ideas for 2015. AOFTA is set to go into its 46th annual event with a palette of new initiatives: an endowment to support Williamsburg’s youngest artists, a creative opportunity to win free art, a virtual preview of this year’s show, a relocated youth art venue, a just-named 3-D art judge, a new book festival and free shuttle service.

The October 3 and 4 art extravaganza is being made possible by community support. Major sponsors, recognized by AOFTA as Rembrandt Sponsors, are Compass Wealth Strategies, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors.


Nurturing Williamsburg’s Budding Artists

Elevating its signature support of the area’s artistic youth, AOFTA is now providing an endowment to the Williamsburg Community Foundation. The new endowment assures continued support for young artists in the Williamsburg area. AOFTA friends, sponsors and supporters have joined the organization in this endeavor and anyone wishing to help sustain quality art in Williamsburg may donate online at


Passport to Free Art

New for 2015, patrons of the October 3 and 4 event can receive a free passport that serves as their guide to the large art and music celebration. Available at information booths, the passports will help ensure that guests experience all that AOFTA offers. Guests who collect enough passport stamps will be eligible for a daily drawing where lucky guests will each receive $100 gift certificates good for fine art created by exhibiting artists. The passport experience evolved thanks to a spring semester partnership between AOFTA and the Mason School of Business at The College of William & Mary.


Preview the Show

Excitement for this year’s show continues to mount as artist applications were up 38% over last year. Drawing Mid-Atlantic and local art enthusiasts alike, this popular two-day festival features more than 140 nationwide artists, all of who now have work showcased on the AOFTA website. Guests wanting a sneak- peek at this year’s artists or interested in planning their festival visit in advance to maximize their creative experience can visit the new preview gallery at


New Venue for Youth Events

The engaging children’s section of the event finds its new home in the South Henry Street shops section of Merchants Square. Art enthusiasts of all ages can admire art from local schools. Children will enjoy hands-on fun at an art project table by The Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center and the Junior Women’s Club will also have its popular sand painting table. Bubbles the Clown will delight with face painting for kids.


3D Judge AnnouncedDianeWright_AOFTA-3Djudge

Diane C. Wright joins this year’s event as the three-dimensional (3-D) judge. Work in the 3-D category spans ceramics, sculpture, wood, jewelry, fiber, glass and 3-D mixed media. Wright, an accomplished glass artist, is currently The Carolyn and Richard Barry Curator of Glass at the Chrysler Museum of Art where she oversees a glass collection of more than 10,000 objects, spanning 3,000 years.

She is a researcher, lecturer who has worked with the country’s finest art institutions, Wright earned her MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from Parsons the New School for Design and was fellowship trained at the Yale University Art Gallery. Wright joins Jefferson “Jeff” Harrison, curator emeritus of Chrysler Museum of Art as this year’s two-dimensional (2D) judge.



Williamsburg Book Festival

AOFTA has partnered with the Williamsburg Book Festival to highlight another facet of creativity, books. The Williamsburg Book Festival takes place Saturday, October 3, at Bruton Parish Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street. Readers of all genres will discover 40 local and regional authors with published work spanning from children’s books to sports, romance to poetry, self-help to novels.


Frustration-Free Parking

AOFTA itself is a free event, no admission required, and this year drivers will also enjoy another perk – hassle-free parking. The popular Merchants Square-based event has increased its parking options with the addition of a free shuttle. Patrons can park just across from Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center in the axillary lot and hop on the shuttle to the corner of Lafayette and Boundary Streets. Shuttle service will run continuously from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both that Saturday and Sunday.


For more information, visit or contact the organization by email.


Sample Art from 2015 Exhibitors:


About An Occasion for the Arts

An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA), founded in 1969, is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that promotes visual and performing arts in Williamsburg, Virginia, through the area’s premier annual juried art exhibition and music festival. The yearly event takes place on the first weekend of every October. AOFTA draws on support from the community, local schools and visitors to provide an enriching art experience and to give back to the community in the form of support for artistic youth. Connect with AOFTA on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.

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