Muskegon’s Lakeshore Art Festival is celebrating a successful 2021 that brought the event national recognition.
After the Lakeshore Art Festival cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19, the fine art and craft show deemed the 2021 event that took place June 26-27 an overall success based on a national award ranking, its economic impact report and a sustainability summary, all announced Tuesday, Sept. 21.
‘Best of’ list
Sunshine Artist magazine ranked The Lakeshore Art Festival No. 89 in the Classic and Contemporary Craft Category in its annual 200 Best Shows in the Country awards. This year’s issue celebrates the best shows from 2010-20. The Sunshine Artist 200 Best Shows awards are split into two categories: Fine Art and Design for events that focus on unique fine-art pieces, and Classic and Contemporary Craft for events that focus on traditional or modern craft and production work.
Artists and craftspeople typically are asked to cast their votes each spring for the 200 Best Shows list. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the industry, Sunshine Artist decided to tabulate the best shows of the past decade. Sunshine Artist’s annual 200 Best focuses solely on artist show revenue, which it says is the most objective indicator of a show’s future success.
“The (Lakeshore Art Festival) has come a long way in the nine years since its rebirth and launch into our revitalized downtown,” said Carla Flanders, festival director. “The Sunshine Artist 200 Best recognition for the past decade is extra special, since we were not able to hold the Lakeshore Art Festival in 2020, and the festival is less than 10 years old. That is quite an accomplishment. Plus, this award is voted on by the artists and craftspeople that attend our show, demonstrating that not only are the exhibitors happy, but that our guests are happily buying handmade goods.”
Each year, the Lakeshore Art Festival works with Visit Muskegon, the county’s convention and visitors bureau, to generate economic impact estimates for the event. The estimates are based on number of attendees, exhibitors, food booths, hotel stays, sales generated, etc. Data is gathered through surveys, heat maps, income feedback and industry indicators, then tabulated through a series of formulas.
The 2021 economic impact the Lakeshore Art Festival generated is estimated at $448,769, bringing the total economic impact since the festival’s inception in 2013 to $7.5 million. The economic impact multi-year total does not include 2020, when festival was canceled due to the pandemic.
“While these economic impact estimates tend to be conservative, the Lakeshore Art Festival continues to make a significant impact on the greater Muskegon area,” said Bob Lukens, director of Visit Muskegon. “Not only does the Lakeshore Art Festival boost local tourism, but it leaves a lasting impression on visitors who return to our community time and time again for this exceptional event.”
While the Lakeshore Art Festival said it is proud of its economic impact numbers, the event tends to look at more than just dollars and cents when examining the success of the event.
In collaboration with Schupan Recycling, the Lakeshore Art Festival created a Sustainability Report that recognizes the building blocks for a stronger Muskegon, including benefits to community, environment and local economy.
“The Lakeshore Art Festival does one of the best jobs in the state of Michigan at incorporating sustainability, in its entirety — environmentally, socially and economically — throughout its operation,” said Jessica Loding, director of events and strategic partnerships at Schupan.
This year’s report was underwritten by a grant from the DTE Foundation and is available to view online.