Interview: Lory Emly Melbourne Arts Festival

Melbourne Arts FestivalHave you been to the Melbourne Arts Festival? It’s coming up soon and is held in downtown Melbourne the weekend of April 23rd and 24th. For twenty-one years, the event has brought an incredible collection of artists, performers and people in the streets of historic Melbourne. It’s an event not to miss.

We caught up with Judy Edwards, this year’s PR and Advertising chairperson and Lori Emly, President.

Judy, can you give me a little background? Who puts on the Melbourne Arts Festival?
Melbourne Art Festival, Inc. is a Florida 501c-3 not-for-profit group, an all-volunteer organization. Our committee of about 55 volunteers meets every Wednesday at 6pm in the Henegar Center for the Arts. We still have some people who have been helping for 21 years.

The Melbourne Art Festival is held the fourth weekend in April each year in historic downtown Melbourne, Florida. Ranked by Sunshine Artist’s Magazine as the 24th best fine art show nationwide. The highlight of the festival is the juried art show, which features over 250 artists from around the country who compete for cash awards in nine categories.

Other weekend events include the KidsWorld Entertainment area, a 5K Run that begins at 8 am on Saturday, a Food Court, live entertainment, a Student Art Competition and Show, and student art workshops.

For how long?
21 years in Melbourne

Who attends?
Free admission, people from all over the area and state. The Melbourne Art Festival attracts nearly 60,000 visitors each year.

Melbourne Arts FestivalWow! Who exhibits?
250-260 artists from around the country

For artists, Sunshine Artist Magazine, said about last years event, “Exhibiting at The Melbourne Art Festival is about as close to winning the lottery as many artists and craftspeople will get. With $112,000 in patron purchase awards and another $25,050 in prizes walking around, there’s lots of cash out there and most folks get a piece. The committee manages competently, but with always a sense of fun in everything they do. You don’t need to choose between good treatment and good sales. Here you get both.”

How does the festival benefit Brevard?
Economic impact last year was estimated at almost 3 million dollars for the two-day event. Melbourne Art Festival brings high quality art to the residents of Brevard County. We have a $3000 scholarship available to a Brevard county resident majoring in a visual or graphics art field, and also reward the schools of our art competition winners with cash awards to the art department and provide free art instruction over the weekend at our workshops.

How can people be a part of this event?
Volunteer to help on the weekend of the show or get more involved by joining our committee which meets every wed at the Henegar center in downtown Melbourne.

How important are volunteers to MAF?
Last year we had over 10,000 volunteer hours logged…. 89 committee members and 540 weekend volunteers!

The Melbourne Art Festival is an incredible event, one that defines Melbourne and its love for the arts. Make plans to attend this year, attend the scholarship auction, or volunteer of your time to help make this years event as successful as it can possibly be.

Visit or contact Judy Edwards at (321) 722-1964