As a followup to the weekend arts festival I participated in: I can't say enough how pleased I was by it. Melrose is a perfectly respectable and highly liveable city (it was on our list of 6 towns when we were househunting last year), but it would not have been first in my mind if I thought about communities in the Boston area with a happening arts scene. However, given a core of dedicated volunteers, the personal involvement and support of the mayor, and TONS of community interest, this smallish suburb was able to mount a weekend event that seriously rivaled and in some ways surpassed the much larger and better-known art walk/open studio events I participate in in downtown Boston.
I'm just blown away that Melrose held an arts festival and probably more than a thousand people came. The crowd had a lot of people with good eyes and obvious sophistication, and there was real buying happening -- almost all the artists sold, and some did very well indeed.
This just really drives home the point that there's a lot going on outside the "Art Epicenters", and that people are very, very eager to have great cultural events right inside their communities. I can't wait until next year.