The History of the Lancaster Artwalk

Art Walks have a long history in the City of Lancaster. Back in 1965, the first art walk was organized by the Community Gallery, now the Lancaster Museum of Art. The event was called Art Sunday and occurred on the first Sunday in October. It was a special day for promoting local artists and galleries, and included both city and county venues. Arts venues were fewer and father between at that time. Downtown was a quieter place and there were no First Fridays. Thanks to the Community Gallery/Lancaster Museum of Art, Art Sunday continued every year and became well-established in the yearly calendar of events. Over time, Art Sunday grew and became more diversified in the types of venues participating.

In 1984, the Lancaster Gallery Association decided to create a similar event in the spring, but on a smaller scale. The original name for this new event was Art Walk, and it was designed to showcase galleries in the City of Lancaster. In recent years, the event has included a Kid Walk, too. Art Walk was organized by the gallery owners themselves. Responsibility moved from volunteer to volunteer every six to eight years.

Around 2004, Art Sunday became a weekend event and adopted the same name as the spring event – Art Walk. To distinguish between the two events, season names were added to each. Thus, we have Fall ArtWalk and Spring Art Walk.

By 2007, Fall ArtWalk had grown so large that the Lancaster Museum of Art felt it was time for another organization to take the reins. LancasterARTS stepped up to the challenge and a successful collaborative transfer was made with Fall ArtWalk 2007.

LancasterARTS broadened the scope of Fall ArtWalk by making the event about the entire arts community in the City of Lancaster – a fusion of visual, performing, and culinary arts. Many new venues and experiences were added. The event is promoted regionally and attracts visitors from New York to Virginia.

In 2010, LancasterARTS handed off responsibility for ArtWalk to a group of volunteers from museums and galleries who will coordinate both Spring and Fall events. See Lancaster ArtWalk for current information.