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The Cherry Creek Arts Festival Celebrates 25 Years



The Cherry Creek Arts Festival (CCAF), which takes place this year July 3, 4 and 5 on the vibrant streets of Cherry Creek North, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with special programming throughout the weekend.

Since 1991, CCAF gives patrons the rare and special opportunity to meet and talk with international juried visual artists, sample fine cuisine, enjoy live musical performances and artist demonstrations, and entertain their families with interactive “ARTivities.”

The History of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival was started by Bill Charney, who presented the Arts Festival concept in 1988 to the Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce (then the Cherry Creek Commerce Association) Board of Directors. At this meeting, the leadership of the Cherry Creek business community committed $15,000 in seed money and a group of volunteers to assist Charney as a “organizing committee.” The following year, 1989, the Festival became an incorporated non-profit organization and received its 501c3 tax-exempt charitable status.

The Festival began in 1991 with 479 artist applications and 170 spots.

Important Years

1996 Janus Capital Group becomes an official sponsor
1997 Arts Festival creates the Mobile Art Gallery collection to tour the area middle schools and public venues
1999 CCAF initiates Art Auction with sponsorship by the Cherry Creek Shopping Center
2001 First (and only) Commemorative Poster to sell-out 100%: “Lowland Tree” by Lawerence Mathis
2002 “Festival Nights” debuts
2004 First “Opening Gala” private art-buying and fundraising opportunity at the JW Marriot
2010 Festival VIP Club introduced for the first time
2012 GreenUp Cherry Arts is launched with a long-term goal of zero-waste and public education about responsible trash disposal at the Festival
2013 All-new Arrow Innovators Club features the winners of the “Five Years Out Art Challenge,” debut of Art Party! hosted by the inaugural “Young Professionals Advisory Board” (now PERSPECTIVE), CherryArtShop.org is launched


[Photo credit: Joel Silverman]


[Photo credit: Nathan Pittock]

Fun Facts About the Festival Over the Years

  • It has ranked 22 times on Sunshine Artist Magazine’s 200 Best Fine Art & Design Show list since the list started in 1993 (ranked every year!).
  • Since 1991, there have been 41,259 applicants to CCAF and only 5,557 exhibiting artists, making it one of the most competitive fine arts shows in the nation.
  • The Festival has been awarded the International Festival and Events Association’s (IFEA) Gold Grand Pinnacle Award five times (the highest award in the special event and festival industry).
  • There have been three volunteers who have been with the Festival for 25 years (Howie James, Mark Rinker, and William Collier).
  • There have been 592 Colorado artists over the years.
  • An estimated 300,000 students have been impacted by CherryArts.
  • There have been 644 pieces purchased by students for Colorado schools to enjoy as permanent installations through the Janus Student Art Buying Program.
  • There are an estimated 7,650,000 attendees over the years (more than twice the current Denver Metro population.)

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