7th Boston Arts Festival opens next week; Three Dot artisans to exhibit works at Waterfront Park

Three Dorchester artisans are joining fellow artists from all over greater Boston in preparing for the bigger-than-ever 7th annual Boston Arts Festival, scheduled for next weekend, beginning on September 11.

Affectionately dubbed “ähts,” The Boston Arts Festival is designed to launch the Hub’s fall arts season (and whet appetites for the fall neighborhood Open Studios series!) by showcasing more than 60 juried artists as well as a wide range of performers. What began in 2003 as a one-day experiment has this year for the first time been expanded to three days chockfull of varied, high-quality free programming.

Visual artists, exhibiting and selling unique and limited edition works of art in a specially designed “artists’ village” include Joseph Bagley of Harbor Crest Ct., who will be showing his fine-art paper-cuttings. Crystal Hanehan of Silloway Street in Dorchester describes her offerings: “one of a kind whimsical figures and decorations I create using antique, vintage and new items. Many of the materials used are recycled and re-purposed.” Gayland St. resident Vernell Jordan will be displaying leather designs including accessories and wearable art.

The festival also features performance programs at two locations: the Waterfront Stage and the Garden Stage. The Community Music Center of Boston will launch its celebration of its centennial season by opening the festival on Friday evening, followed by a set by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus.

Over the weekend look for performances by the Boston Ballet, young saxophonist sensation Grace Kelly, BalletRox, Opera Boston (premiering an original work), City Stage, and Mean Creek as well as an ultrasonic night with the Rock Opera Orchestra.

Parents may want to take advantage of the family friendly activities including interactive painting led by the Mayor’s Mural Crew, a special children’s area, and glass blowing demonstrations by Diablo Glass of Mission Hill. For schedule details, go to bostonahtsfestival.com.

Festival hours: Fri., Sept. 1, noon to 7 p.m; Sat., Sept. 12 and Sun., Sept. 13, noon to 6 p.m. at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park in the North End.