Downtown Princeton will once again serve as the host on April 28 when an estimated crowd of 40,000 is expected to attend the popular annual event– Communiversity, an arts festival designed for hands-on fun, art, music and food.
“The festival has been organized by the Princeton Arts Council for 49 years, with the focus being on art,” said Jim Levine, the interim Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton.
He said the festival began in 1970.
“In 1970, the Arts Council decided to have an art people party in front of Nassau Hall at Princeton University,” he said. “It has grown since then. In the mid 80s, the name was changed to Communiversity. At that time, that is when students of Princeton University became involved with organizing events on campus and the arts council organizing events in the middle of town for the day long festival.”
Levine said each spring it is a one-day event that shuts down most of downtown Princeton.
“Admission is also free for anyone who attends the festival,” he said.
On April 28, the event will take place from 1-6 p.m. in Palmer Square, Nassau Street and Witherspoon Street, according to officials.
“We have artists, musicians and merchants showcasing and selling during the day event,” he said. “We have lots of food and activities going on during the festival. A lot of local non-profits join us on the day as well. This is just a day for the town to sort of get together. It has grown so much, it is now a regional event.”
According to Arts Council of Princeton officials, the art event features more than 200 artists, merchants and crafters from around the tri-state area.
Officials said there will be live entertainment on seven stages, children’s activities and games, a wide array of food from different cultures around the world, and many local businesses and organizations also will be participating in the festival.
“We are selling artwork and other items generated by local artists. Non-profits are a part of the day as way to get their information out on what they do and who they are,” Levine said.
To organize the festival, it takes Arts Council officials about six months to get the event ready for 40,000 people, according to Levine.
“There are two top things I want people to takeaway from our event,” he said. “One is local. This event predominately features local artists, local vendors, local food, and local musicians. Number two is that it is an arts festival. There is a lot of art to see being made, there is a lot of art to make yourself and lots of art to buy. You get to see artists showcase and sell their work.”
Levine said he hopes the event showcases the importance of art.
“Over the years the event has strayed from its roots as an arts fair. For the past couple years, we have been trying to bring it back to focusing on the arts,” he said.
Levine said there are multiple ways people can get to the event with parking being at a premium.
“From the Princeton Shopping Center we run a shuttle to the festival. Local residents and people should walk to the event. We also have two bike valets, where people can store their bikes safely. We encourage those who are in town to bike if they can.”
According to Princeton Arts Council officials, the Communiversity shuttle will transport people from the shopping center to the festival entrance at the corner of Wiggins Street and Witherspoon Street from 12:30-6:30 p.m.
The Chambers Street Garage located on Chambers Street and Kinney Garage on Hulfish Street will be open for parking as well for people driving in, officials said.
Levine said during the festival there will also be a lot of interactive hands-on art demonstrations people will be able to get involved in.
“The mission of the arts council is building community for the arts. We believe this is our signature community art activity,” he said.
Levine said he wants people to also know that the Princeton Arts Council organizes this spring event each year.
“I am not certain that people know that the arts council is the one who organizes and produces the event,” he said. “This is really built to bring the focus back to art, that means art-making, art viewing and art exhibiting. We want this event to be an art party.”
Levine said the event also helps the Arts Council showcase the programs it provides for the community.
“The festival goes on right next to our facility, which allows us to organize activities inside of our facility so residents can see what the arts council is all about,” Levine said. “People also get introduced to programs we have by interacting with our volunteers, instructors and staff during our art interactive demonstrations and projects.”
For more information about the event and parking, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org or call 609-924-8777.