Marginal Arts Festival is a six-day festival of art beyond the predictable that nurtures local identity and promotes contemporary art from the local to the international.
MAF has its origins in a tiny high school with less than 50 students. A faculty of exhibiting artists, published authors, touring musicians and academic overachievers founded this arts and academic high school in 2002, to fill Roanoke’s need for a private, downtown, arts-focused alternative to the standard prep school model.
Just five years later, the faculty pooled their talents again, this time to offer another dimension to the city’s cultural scene – Marginal Arts Festival. The festival’s goals were educational: first, to show our youth that it is possible to achieve amazing things without power, influence and money if you have a vision; second, to show the community that the arts can encourage economic growth and social well-being in the valley.
Over the past few years, the Marginal Arts Festival has continued to evolve. Our first years were underground, alternative and vocally opposed to mediocrity. MAF is now significant enough to have critics who claim we not truly “Marginal!” It is true that we are now slightly more mainstream – if “mainstream” is understood as being more welcoming to all artists and more inclusive to the community at large.
MAF is still vocally opposed to “mediocre” art: that is, art created as a consumer product. Marginal Art celebrates ideas, not worth, the creative process and not the creative object. Marginal Art is the fire, not the grate!
Marginal Arts continues 3,000-plus years of human festival tradition.
HOW BIG IS YOUR CULTURAL FOOTPRINT?