Festival History

Bringing Artists and Community Together for More than 60 Years

More than 270 award-winning artists from around the country and some 30,000 patrons flock to the waterfront village of Sausalito, California, on Labor Day weekend each year for the annual Sausalito Art Festival. One of the oldest, most prestigious and most anticipated open-air art events in the country—the Sausalito Art Festival has set the standard for quality, variety, innovation and scope of artistry for more than 60 years. The event has also attracted a huge following for its celebrated entertainment lineup, special exhibitions and cornucopia of food, beer and wine — transforming the charming seaside village of Sausalito, California into a three-day “Camelot” of art and community. Participating artists are selected by a rigorous jury process and exhibit a range of work, including painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, glass, fiber and fashion, wood, photography, mixed media and more.

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The Festival is considered by artists, art collectors, and art fair fans to be a must-see event, and Sausalito itself has long been regarded as one of the world’s great artist communities and a community legendary for its excellent restaurants, shopping and access to breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor activities.
Together, the Festival and community attract enthusiastic attention, top artists and international visitors to its waterfront location.

The Festival is produced by the nonprofit Sausalito Art Festival Foundation, which supports year-round activities along with the annual Festival. Proceeds from the Festival support the local arts community as student scholarships, grants to non-profit arts organizations and community programs. Each year, some 1,000 community volunteers help keep the Festival running smoothly.

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Since before the famed California Gold Rush, Sausalito has been a magnet for artists and creative souls of all kinds due to its scenic beauty and strategic location. Weekend painters first arrived by sailboat from San Francisco in the early 1800's to capture scenes of tall ships and nature against the majestic backdrop of the Bay.

The Festival has steadily grown, year after year, gaining national recognition as the #1 Outdoor Fine Art Festival in America, and earning international standing for excellence in the arts. It is now considered one of the finest and most prestigious art festivals in the United States by both artists and collectors worldwide.