Art in the Streets

The YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region's Riverside Art Festival regularly draws over 10,000 people to Downtown Bay City along the riverfront of the Saginaw River.

Artists sold everything from handmade pottery and jewelry to clothing and sculptures.

Sunny skies on the first day of the art festival kept drink vendors busy.One-of-a-kind home decor drew people into many of the booths.The YWCA's mission is to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.The goal of the event is to draw high-quality artists from throughout the state and country while providing a free local event for the community.

Moira Branigan serves as the Executive Director of the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region.Works of art at the festival ranged from decorative to practical.Sunny skies kept the festival busy on Saturday. On Sunday, the weather was cooler, but the streets stayed busy.Some of the artists worked with food, creating treats that were both tasty and beautiful.Since 1891, the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region has been creating an environment for women to feel empowered, supported, and able to build opportunities and make positive change.

Customized clothing filled many of the booths.Artists had to go through a highly-selective jury process before they were invited to participate in the festival.Visitors enjoyed hot and cool treats from the food trucks that joined the festival.While the mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all has not changed, the YWCA's programming and services have continued to evolve, just like the needs of women in our regional community.

Many artists return to the fair year after yearFood trucks kept visitors nourished and hydrated during the two-day festival.The city closed several downtown streets for the annual festival.Today, the YWCA focuses on empowering women of all ages through programming such as the Women's Economic Empowerment Program (WEEP) which includes Getting Ahead, Moving Ahead and Young Women Choosing Action.

Vendors had to go through a jury process before being accepted to the annual festival.Throughout the weekend, about 10,000 people browsed through the art festival.While the Riverside Art Festival is one of the YWCA's most visible events, it isn't the nonprofit agency's primary focus. The YWCA empowers women and eliminate racism.Artists showed pottery, jewelry, textiles, weaving, sculptures, watercolors, woodworking, and more during the two-day street fair.The YWCA also expanded its programming to include InterACT, a program offering diversity, equity, and inclusion solutions to businesses and organizations in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The annual festival draws people together from all over the Great Lakes Bay Region.Artists from all over Michigan and as far away as Texas displayed and sold their work during the festival.The YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region has been serving women in Bay City for more than 130 years. Today, the agency serves Bay, Midland, and Saginaw counties.It was hard to walk through the art festival without running into someone you knew.The YWCA is located in Suite 5 of the United Way Building, 909 Washington Ave.
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