What are the EL Art Fest Rules of Participation?

Participation Rules:

By submitting your application, you agree to abide by all festival rules and legal agreements. Failure to comply with any of these rules and/or agreements will result in immediate removal from the show, as well as disqualification from other festival events.

Eligibility: The festival features original artworks. You may not buy and sell items. You may not exhibit manufactured items of any kind. You may not have representatives selling your work. You may not exhibit large studio work. You may not sell or exhibit food items, beauty products, candles, etc. of any kind. The ELAF Board of Directors reserves the right to determine which applicants meet these eligibility requirements. Mass-produced items with reproduced artwork, such as postcards, books, note cards, posters and t-shirts are not permitted for sale unless pre-approved by the ELAF Board of Directors Selection Committee. Artists intending to sell jewelry of any kind must apply in the jewelry category. This means if you are a glass, wood or metal artist, etc., and you make pendants in addition to your regular work, then you must apply in BOTH categories separately (example, glass AND jewelry, or, metal AND jewelry) and be accepted in BOTH categories (note: two separate entry fees apply) to exhibit jewelry at this event. All artwork must be properly identified with no misleading labels. Applicants featuring ineligible items in their application images will be disqualified during the jury process. The ELAF Board of directors may ask exhibiting artists to remove such items from display during the festival and reserves the right to remove exhibitors from the festival if they have been accepted under false pretenses by misrepresenting their work during the application process.

 Reproductions: Patrons at this event expect that they are purchasing original work. Reproductions should be in limited quantity (25% of the booth space) and should be archival-quality reproductions, such as giclee or offset. The reproductions must be clearly labeled as such, suitably matted, signed and numbered by the artist in limited editions and exhibited on one wall or in one bin. Reproductions are not eligible for awards. Artists must define “a limited edition” in an artist statement and disclose their process to the buyer. The ELAF Board of Directors reserves the right to make determinations regarding reproductions that do not fit within these guidelines.

 Artist Participation: Artists, and/or partner, whose name appears on the application must be present the entire weekend of the festival, and must present photo identification to the ELAF Board of Directors upon request. Partners listed in your application must be collaborative partners in the creative process. No representatives, commercial agents, dealers or salespeople may operate the booth. Under no circumstances may you sublet your booth, in whole or in part, with or without charge. No booth sharing between independent artists will be permitted. You may not display or advertise the work of individuals other than those accepted and specified in your application.

Courtesy: It should go without saying that there is an expectation of civility, patience and common courtesy at this event. We rely on the dedication of hundreds of volunteers and returning arts patrons to make this festival a pleasant venue where artists successfully sell their artwork each and every year. It is our wish that every exhibitor, art patron and volunteer have an enjoyable experience at the ELAF. We require artists to follow load-in, load-out and parking procedures, as well as general festival rules of participation. Exhibitors are expected to cooperate with festival staff, board members and volunteers, and be courteous to neighboring exhibitors. Artists who mistreat volunteers, staff, and board or fellow artists will not be invited back to exhibit at this festival in the future.

ELAF Board of Directors reserves the right to change festival rules without prior notice.

How do I apply to the East Lansing Art Festival, (ELAF)?

The ELAF is a juried fine art and fine craft show. Artists must submit an application online through www.zapplication.org.

 Artists must first create a free Zapplication account. (You can search and apply to hundreds of art festivals across the nation through this service.) Next, search for the East Lansing Art Festival and apply by uploading three images of original artwork and one booth image displaying your work.

Please read all participation rules carefully. No commercially made forms, products, garments or settings of any kind are permitted. No imports, factory produced or brokered items will be allowed.

The application/jury fee is $25 from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 for early registration. This fee increases to $35 on Dec. 1. Deadline to apply is January 31.

The following is prohibited at this festival:

NO buy/sell merchandise
NO manufactured goods of any kind
NO food products
NO artist reps (the artist who created the work must be present the entire weekend
NO large-scale production studios (exhibited art should be made by one artist or one partnership)

How does the ELAF application jury process work?

The ELAF Board of Directors chooses a panel of experienced jurors based upon their knowledge in specific art mediums. The jury evaluates artist images by category within their area of expertise through an online process. The application jury is comprised of a variety of working artists, studio art teachers, professors, museum and gallery directors, festival board members and members of the arts community at large. The application jury pool is revolving, so new people are added, and active application jury members rotate yearly. Application jurors are modestly compensated for their time and expertise. For the sake of their privacy, we do not publish the names of our application jurors. The festival director does not vote in the application jury process. Each image, or group of images, is coded and the names of artists are not revealed to the jury members. Images are viewed sequentially by category, and each image is juried separately. Criteria for scoring include quality, creativity, design, technical competence and presentation. High scoring artists in each category receive an invitation to exhibit at the ELAF.

Does the booth fee include a tent?

No. The booth fee provides each artist with a designated space. Artists are responsible to bring and set up their own tents and displays.

Are double booth spaces or corners available?

A limited number of double booth spaces (10' x 20') are available to an artist whose work is of a large scale and requires the additional space. Double booth spaces are assigned on a first-paid, first-served basis for $650. Corner spaces are also available in limited number on a first-paid, first-served basis for an additional $50. All booth fees are paid by artists after they have applied and participated in the application jury process. Top scoring artists in each category receive an invitation to exhibit. Booth fees are paid online through the artist's account at www.zapplication.org

What is the ELAF Emerging Artist Program? Am I eligible to participate?

The ELAF Emerging Artist Program provides up-and-coming artists with an opportunity to exhibit their work at a top Fine Art Festival. All artists are eligible as long as they have never exhibited at a fine art festival prior to exhibiting at the East Lansing Art Festival, and artwork has not enjoyed a widespread public presence; e.g., extensive gallery exhibition history, commissions, public artworks. Each artist must sign an affidavit in that regard. Emerging Artists must submit four (4) images of their work to be considered for exhibition, (a booth image is not required for Emerging Artist applicants — in place of the booth shot please upload a 4th image of your work). In addition, Emerging Artists must submit a brief Artist Statement by email to info@elartfest.com. All Emerging Artist applicants participate in the jury process and the top scoring artists are invited to attend. Emerging Artists are not eligible for artist awards. All other ELAF participation rules apply. Apply online at www.zapplication.org or e-mail the festival office at info@elartfest.com to learn more.

 How is the ELAF funded and managed?

The ELAF is a non-profit arts and cultural event which makes the arts accessible to our community. The East Lansing Art Festival is presented by the Art Festival Board of Directors in cooperation with the Arts Commission and the City of East Lansing. While the City of East Lansing provides support in the form of use of city streets and city services, the festival must raise 100% of the funds to produce the event each year!

 The ELAF is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors and managed by a part time staff with the help of hundreds of community volunteers who all keep the festival running smoothly every year.

 All fees collected from artists and vendors serve to fund the operation and administration of the event. Generous local businesses and corporate sponsors underwrite festival arts programming with cash sponsorships and in-kind donations of products and services. FOOFs (Friends Of Our Festival) provide individual donations and invaluable volunteer services. The ELAF arts programming is also funded by grant dollars awarded to the festival from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, (MCACA), the City of East Lansing Arts Commission Grant, and the Ingham County Hotel/Motel Arts and Tourism Tax Fund.

Thanks to donations and grants, live music, interactive performances and hands-on arts activities are provided free of cost to the public at the festival. We need your help to keep arts programming free at the ELAF. Please check out our sponsor page or donate online today!

How can I become a volunteer?

The ELAF is made possible thanks to the hundreds of community volunteers who come out and lend a hand during the festival weekend. There are many options for service. Volunteering is a lot of fun. Each volunteer receives a free festival t-shirt for their invaluable service. Go to our volunteer sign up here  to sign up as a volunteer!

How can I become a festival sponsor?

We appreciate our sponsors! Generous donations from individuals, local businesses and corporations allow the ELAF to provide arts programming at this beloved community event. Festival sponsors receive many recognition benefits! Please donate online or contact our office for more information regarding sponsor benefits at info@elartfest.com or call festival director Michelle Carlson at 517.319.6804.

Is the craft fair on Michigan State University's (MSU) campus part of the ELAF?

No. The MSU Spring Arts and Crafts Show is a non-juried arts and craft show held outdoors on the campus grounds of the MSU Union. Although both fairs are held on the same weekend, the MSU Spring Arts and Crafts Show is not part of the ELAF. It is a separate event produced by the Michigan State University Activities Board (UAB). To contact that show directly, please call 517.355.3354 or e-mail the UAB at artsandcrafts@uabevents.com.

Does the ELAF offer cash awards to exhibiting artists?

Yes. Artist awards are sponsored by area businesses and individuals. These dedicated friends of ELAF sponsor cash and purchase awards, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 in total prize dollars awarded to our exhibiting artists every year. In addition to cash prizes, award artists receive invitational status and are invited back to exhibit, bypassing the jury process for three consecutive years.

How are artist award winners chosen?

The ELAF Board of Directors chooses a panel of experienced art experts to jury and score all the artist applications. Artists receiving the highest score in each category are invited to attend based on space availability. 

The site jury is separate from the application jury and is also comprised of a group of working artists, studio art teachers, professors, museum and gallery directors and members of the arts community at large. Qualified site jurors review all work on Saturday, based on their knowledge in specific art mediums. These site jurors score each booth and identify award recipients. Artists receiving an award from the site jury become "invitational" for three (3) consecutive years after their qualifying year and receive cash prizes or purchase awards. The site jury pool is revolving, so new people are added, and active site jury members change yearly. Site jurors are compensated for their time and expertise. For the sake of their privacy, we do not publish the names of our site jurors. The ELAF festival director does not vote in the site jury process.

Is the ELAF a well-attended event?

Yes. The ELAF attracts an estimated 60,000 art lovers from across the region. Nationally renowned as one of the top-ranking fine art and fine craft fairs in the nation, this festival consistently appears in the top 200 shows ranked by Sunshine Artist Magazine. More than 200 gifted artists from across North America exhibit and sell their work at this outdoor event.

How can I become a food court vendor at the ELAF?

The ELAF was established to enhance the sense of community and appreciation of artistic activity in the City of East Lansing and the Greater Lansing Area. With that in mind, our food court highlights the fare of our favorite local restaurants. Spaces in our food court are limited, as we offer first right of refusal to the dedicated businesses who participate yearly. However, we are open to accepting new vendors when a space becomes available. If you would like us to keep your information on file for possible future placement, please mail your company information to: ELAF, 410 Abbot Road, East Lansing, MI 48823 or you may email the festival office at info@elartfest.com.

How can I become a musical performer at the ELAF?

There is limited availability to participate as a performer at the East Lansing Art Festival. Submissions are evaluated based on type of performance, content, quality, diversity, and potential audience appeal. Priority is given to local and regional performers at this non-profit event. Performers are chosen between the months of September and January by the East Lansing Art Festival Board of Directors and Festival Stage Host.

Interested performers may mail materials to: East Lansing Art Festival Performance Program, 410 Abbot Rd., East Lansing MI 48823. (Please note materials mailed to the festival cannot be returned). Or email info to the Festival Stage Host, Benjamin Hall, at: bhall@cityofeastlansing.com (no phone calls to the festival office please).

Due to the large number of inquiries only those performers chosen to perform at the festival will be contacted by the end of January.

Can artists set up their booths on the Friday before the festival?

Yes. The festival setup period is now on the Friday prior to the festival by assigned time.

As an ELAF artist, how will I know how to load in/load out and where to set up my booth?

Exhibiting artists are assigned a booth number and load in time and will receive detailed instructions regarding festival procedures once they have achieved invited status.

Where is East Lansing?

East Lansing, Michigan is centrally located right in the palm of the Michigan mitten. East Lansing is the home of Michigan State University and the world-renowned Eli and Edythe Broad Contemporary Art Museum. It is also in close proximity to the City of Lansing, home to the Michigan State Capitol.

Visit the City of East Lansing Web site for maps and more information about this beautifully tree-lined, culturally and demographically diverse community at www.cityofeastlansing.com

Public Parking

  • Grove Street Garage, 330 Grove St.
    Entrance on east side of Grove between Albert Avenue and Linden Street (Cashiered | U-Pay Lane | Permit Parking)

  • Bailey Parking Lot, 139 Bailey St.
    Entrance on west side of Bailey Street between Grand River and Albert avenues (Cashiered | U-Pay Lane)

  • Bailey Street Parking Garage, 126 Bailey St.
    Entrance on east side of Bailey Street between Grand River and Albert avenues (Pay Station)

  • Charles Street Garage, 121 Charles St.
    Entrance on west side of Charles between Grand River and Albert avenues (Cashiered | U-Pay Lane | Permit Parking)

  • CVS Parking Garage, 310 Albert Ave.
    Entrance on south side of Albert between MAC and Charles Streets next to CVS Pharmacy (Pay Station)

  • Division Street Garage, 181 Division St.
    Entrance on west side of Division between Grand River and Albert avenues (Cashiered | U-Pay Lane | Permit Parking)

  • MAC Avenue Garage, 310 MAC Ave.
    Entrance underneath the Marriott Hotel on east side of MAC between Albert Avenue and Linden Street. (Cashiered | U-Pay Lane)

  • Valley Court (Parking Meters / Permit Parking)

Ride your Bike to Festival

Ride your Bike the East Lansing Art Festival and enjoy free Valet Bike Parking provided by Mid-MEAC.  Valet Bike Parking is located on Abbot Road next to Dublin Square.



Animals are NOT permitted in the Food Court or Children's Activities Areas of the festival.

We ask pet owners to please be considerate of all festival artists and guests. The festival is crowded with many patrons, fragile art works, small children, swirling activity, live music and the aromas of many different kinds of delicious food. Animals and people are unnecessarily put in dangerous situations when animals interact aggressively. Although this is a spring festival, the weather can be HOT, creating serious health dangers for your pet. Please be kind to pets and people!