Art comes in all forms — from live music to sculpture to prose — and it unifies diverse people, stirs conversations and elicits emotion, said York City Mayor Kim Bracey.

"However you choose to define it, art is all around us — especially in York City," she said.

And the 16th annual Yorkfest Fine Arts Festival, held in downtown York, will celebrate art in all its forms, Bracey said. The event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 23, and Sunday, Aug. 24. It will feature about 100 fine artists from around the country, as well as free entertainment and hands-on arts activities.

Featured artist: More than 60 new artists applied to be in the show, and about 30 were selected, said event coordinator Mary Yeaple.

This year’s Yorkfest featured artist, Ophelia Chambliss, smiles alongside her painting "Amnesia," which will appear on promotional
This year's Yorkfest featured artist, Ophelia Chambliss, smiles alongside her painting "Amnesia," which will appear on promotional materials and T-shirts for the late-August event. (Randy Flaum)

About one-third of this year's artists will be new to Yorkfest, and the rest will make their return to the event, she said.

Yorkfest organizers unanimously chose York artist Ophelia Chambliss as this year's featured artist, Yeaple said.

"Amnesia," one of Chambliss' paintings, will be used as the event image for promotions materials and this year's Yorkfest T-shirt, to be sold during the event, she said.

The painting is based on an excerpt from a poem by one of Chambliss' past professors, and it's about past memories and how they become gray and binary over time, Chambliss said.

Although she's attended Yorkfest before, this will be her first year presenting her work at the event, she said.

"This will actually be something new ... I'm looking forward to it," said Chambliss, 55, of Manchester Township.

She's been an artist "forever" and doing the work full-time for 14 years, she said.

"It gets a little scary sometimes, but it's still the best job ever," Chambliss said.

Event details: The first Yorkfest was held in 1999, and the event was originally the Riverwalk Arts Festival in the years prior, Yeaple said.

The event featured a dozen food vendors last year, and this year's festival could bring 12 to 14 food vendors, Yeaple said.

Vendors were carefully selected and brought in by invitation only, she said. New vendors include Lancaster-based food trucks Baron Von Schwein, Urban Olive and Souvlaki Boys.

Organizers made sure to include healthier choices, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free fare, Yeaple said.

The "Meet the Masters" program was successful in its first year in 2013 and will return again. The program is part of a curriculum that teaches children artistic styles of renowned artists.

There will also be a free jazz concert at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

Last year, organizers estimated that 15,000 people came to the free weekend of art, and Yeaple said she expects attendance to grow this year.

"It's a great weekend," she said. "Lots and lots to do."

— Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.

Yorkfest details

The Yorkfest Fine Arts Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24.

The festival will be held in and around the Colonial Court House, 157 W. Market St., and along the Rail Trail in York City.

It will feature a marketplace of about 100 select fine artists and their work.

There will also be live entertainment, food vendors, walking tours of the city's murals, hands-on art projects for kids and a Chalk Walk of sidewalk art.

All events are free and open to the public.

Cleaning up

Yorkfest will be held along the Rail Trail, next to the Codorus Creek in York City.

Prior to the event, Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna is looking for volunteers to help clean up the creek.

The cleanup effort will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the weekend of Aug. 1, 2 and 3. Volunteers will meet at Small Athletic Field, behind the National Guard Armory on North George Street in the city.

Gloves, bags and lunch will be provided, and Aug. 1 volunteers will receive York Revolution tickets for the game that night. To register, call 717-779-7915 or email LowSusRiver@hotmail.com.