History of the Festival of Arts

The Festival began in 1977 as a venture of the San Dimas Chamber of Commerce under the guidance of John Walgren, then Executive Director of the Chamber.  Mr. Walgren, along with Y. Elbert “Easy” Cheyno of the American Indian and Cowboy Artists (AICA), initiated the First Annual Western Art Exhibition and Sale held in April, 1977. From this early effort the non-profit corporation, originall known as the Festival of Western Arts was created. (The organization changed its name to the San Dimas Festival of Arts in 2000.)

The San Dimas Festival of Arts is dedicated to the preservation of the western spirit through the arts via special cultural events and public art. Each spring, a select group of distinguished artists are invited to come to San Dimas for the Annual National Western Fine Art Exhibition and Sale. They exhibit approximately 150 pieces of art in various categories such as paintings, drawings, sculpture, and other media. Thousands of guests attend throughout the weekend to enjoy the Gallery as well as the Trading Post, Art Demonstrations and Art Auctions.

In 1997, the Festival expanded to include the Wildlife Art Show, held each Fall on the third weekend of October.

In an effort to raise community awareness of the arts (and to give something lasting to the community), the Festival has sponsored several major public art projects in San Dimas. With the Festivals lead and contributions by numerous business and citizens of San Dimas, the public art projects have been a resounding success.

The San Dimas Festival of Arts today

Our success is a direct reflection of the hard work donated by dedicated volunteers and the financial support of Corporate, Patron, Festival, and individual members. Thank You! Today, our extended support reaches a number of projects and foundations: