FireFish Arts

FireFish Arts

Building a vibrant arts & culture community in downtown Lorain.

FireFish Festival 2022

Artists & Performers

Create FireFish Festival Art with Us!

FireFish Festival Sponsorship

FireFish Festival 2022

FireFish Sept. 17th

Celebrating Nature 2022

Stilt WalkersAlways changing, this year’s FireFish Festival is shifting north from the downtown Broadway streetscape to the undeveloped former “pellet terminal” area north of Black River Lane. This new site reveals both the beauty and potential of Lorain’s Lake Erie and Black River waterfronts, providing a stunning natural backdrop for this year’s festivities. As always, the event promises unique art installations, food, fun, fire – and the much anticipated and signature burning of the FireFish with its parade and performance.

Always FREE, the 2022 FireFish Festival opens at 2 pm with food trucks, a vendor market, art installations, and interactive art opportunities for visitors. Visitors are encouraged to explore adjacent downtown Lorain’s many new bars, eateries, shops, and FireFish artist sites.

At the FireFish Festival site itself, visitors can also expect projections under the Bascule Bridge, pollinator sculptures near the new giant welcome to “Lorain” sign and the Marie Bonaminio Pollinator Garden, and all kinds of fun, art, and entertainment centered around the theme of the 2022 FireFish Festival: Fire, Rebirth, and our Connection to the Natural World.


Live bands, including Avon Lake native Anne E. DeChant Band, The Apostle Jones Band, and Victor Samalot round out the festival programming, which also features glass-blowing demonstrations by Hot Works Glass and other interactive art activities. Cleveland’s visionary and new media artist Ross Bochnek will debut two new art installation projections focusing on the “Nature of Reality.”

Download the FireFish Festival Info Sheet here.

Bread and Puppet Theatre

Bread and Puppet“The circus is coming! The circus is coming!” Our event headliner, the Internationally known and Vermont-based Bread and Puppet Theater, brings its iconic “Domestic Resurrection Circus” to FireFish with a performance starting at 4 pm. Believing that theater is a necessity like bread, the 59-year-old Bread and Puppet Theater brings its performance out into the streets to those who may otherwise not go to the theater.

Larger than life-size puppets inspired by cross-cultural traditions, often on stilts, wear huge masks with expressive faces, singing, dancing, and playing music. Participation in this play includes 20 – 30 Bread and Puppet performers, puppets, and stilt walkers, as well as youth from the ACES program and others involved in FireFish Arts programming, all performing against the backdrop of the famous Bread and Puppet traveling bus and Lorain’s stunning waterfront.

The Bread and Puppet performance is followed by interaction with troupe members that will hand out homemade bread made that day, and features a sale of their art, posters, and books. Learn about Bread and Puppet Theater: and   

The James Levin FireFish Festival Parade, Finale Ceremony, and Burning of the Fish

Burning of the FireFishA “Pied Piper-like” parade at dusk leads community members along with performers, puppeteers, musicians, fire performers, and drummers to the much anticipated and iconic annual James Levin FireFish Processional and Burning of the FireFish, taking place at sunset.

This year’s monstrous FireFish, built on-site during the week before the FireFish Festival, will embody elements of grotesque sculpture, characterized by fanciful and fantastic human and animal forms intertwined with foliage. Accompanied by flora and fauna in a ceremony of procession and performance on its phoenix-like journey of rebirth through fire, the FireFish becomes a decorative, fanciful, and fantastic caricature that represents the personal things that we would like to symbolically burn and release while looking toward new growth and the future of Lorain.

A celebration of music and dance will follow and continue until 11 pm.

Parking Map 

Create FireFish Festival Art with Us!

Create FireFish Festival art with us!Community Workshops

The festival village will open to the public the week before the festival to help us create art for the festival. Artists including Daniel McNamara the Artistic Director of the FireFish Finale, Ian Petroni, Buoyant Heart, and other invited artists will be on-site throughout the week creating the FireFish and art for the festival. Workshops are open to children and adults and involve helping with the creation of the FireFish and making art for the festival.

  Tuesday, September 13th, 4 – 8 pm

  Wednesday, September 14th, 4 – 8 pm

   Thursday, September 15th, 4 – 8 pm

Community members are encouraged to bring work gloves, a hat, sunscreen, and a water bottle. Art supplies will be furnished.

Artists, Students, & Volunteers

The festival village will privately open to FireFish artists, students, and volunteers to create art for the festival on the Monday before the festival. Artists including Daniel McNamara the Artistic Director of the FireFish Finale, Ian Petroni, Buoyant Heart, and other invited artists will be on-site throughout the week creating the FireFish and art for the festival. Volunteers and students can work with the artists during the times indicated below.

   Monday, September 12th, 12 – 8 pm

  Tuesday, September 13th, 12 – 8 pm

  Wednesday, September 14th, 12 – 8 pm

  Thursday, September 15th, 12 – 8 pm

  Friday, September 16th, 12 – 8 pm

Artists, students, and volunteers are encouraged to bring their artist tool kit along with work gloves, a hat, sunscreen, and a water bottle. If you would like to create art with us, YOU MUST CONTACT Ryan Craycraft in ADVANCE to schedule times to work.

If you would like to be a part of the community workshops and to schedule a time to volunteer with the artists, contact Ryan Craycraft at

*FireFish Festival Celebrating Nature 2022 is on Saturday, September 17th from 2 – 11 pm at 201 Broadway Ave in downtown Lorain.

**The festival village is located at 201 Broadway Ave in downtown Lorain on the west bank of the Black River. The entrance is on Black River Lane.

2022 Programs & Events

Lorain: Portrait of a City Project

The Lorain: Portrait of a City project is a two-year program that features both traditional and non-traditional “portraits” of Lorain, with multiple components. The program emphasizes arts-based storytelling related to the history of Lorain, its’ people, and the community with a public art component that celebrates the community and work of the project and its participants.

An arts education/enrichment project, the focus is on working with local artists that teach and mentor high school and college artists apprentices in the creation of a work of art that tells the story of Lorain.  The “portraits” created as part of Lorain: Portrait of a City will utilize traditional and experimental media, including painting, photography, video, murals, gallery installations, projection, fashion, and puppet making. Throughout the creative process, we will challenge what constitutes a portrait and how we honor and express the essence of Lorain. Apprentice participants will also create related independent art projects under the guidance of the mentor/teaching artists.


“Broadway in Bloom” Pollinator Sculpture Garden Pots

“Broadway in Bloom” Sculpture Garden PotsFlowerpots filled with pollinator and seasonal plants created by Joshua Biber are enhanced with painted butterflies, birds, and bees to create a seasonal public art project in downtown Lorain. identifying locations where FireFish artists create and where FireFish Arts programming takes place, these “art pots” connect to this year’s FireFish Festival theme of celebrating nature and also feature design elements from the “Broadway in Bloom” mural designed by Ryan Craycraft, located at 858  Broadway Avenue.

Locations include:

  • Rock Town Studio – 387 Broadway
  • Jevon Terance Boutique – 625 Broadway
  • LCCC City Center – 300 Broadway
  • Jason Shaffer Studio – 633 Broadway
  • Speak of the Devil Alley – 201 W 5th Street
  • The BRIAR – 668 Broadway / Shane Furniture (Fire It Up! Block Party) – 668 Broadway
  • Broadway Mary’s next to FireFish’ s Broadway in Bloom Mural – 939 Broadway
  • Broadway in Bloom Paintings – 858 Broadway
  • Juice Me – 712 Broadway

Fire It Up! Broadway Block Parties

Fire It Up! Located at the corner of 7th Street and Broadway Ave on the first Friday of every month during the summer. Main Street Lorain host the Broadway Block Parties on First Fridays and provides live music and vendors and the businesses downtown offer specials for people walking up and down Broadway Ave in downtown Lorain. The Fire It Up! booth has fire performers, a cash bar, and a special art experience at each event.

See pictures from this year’s block parties here.

David Morales Alley Show

Fire It Up! Comedy Show with David Morales

FREE Comedy! FireFish Artist Board Member David Morales hosts a free comedy show during the monthly Fire It Up! Broadway Block Party downtown Lorain on Friday, August 5th in the alley by Speak of the Devil (201 W. 5th St.). The show is from 8 – 11 pm. Music will be provided by DJ Ray and Anthony Scrofano, with comedy performances by Bryan Sternik, Tim Wolfe, and Anthony Mayo.

Hiatt Hernon “Erie Days – A Temporal Gallery”

Inspired by the cinematic curiosity of the 1920s ‘city symphony’ short films, Erie Days is an attempt to capture the spirit of experimentation of early cameras. Shot entirely on the latest GoPro technology with an emphasis on time-lapse photography the frames and minutes accelerating by from a stationary position—the project soon began to evoke the feeling of time displacement felt during lockdown over the last two years.

‘Erie’ is a name taken for the street I live, the lake I would see every day, and the days spent there as time would seem to go by slow and fast simultaneously. As things have restarted at different paces, these feelings have begun to drift into memory but came back working on this piece purely accidentally. Even so, the process of exploring with this video was a super enjoyable one, and I hope that is felt by viewers too.


Start W/Art

FireFish Artist Board Member Jeff Pye and the Start W/Art program focus on creating painted portraits of notable people from Lorain. Local student artists will collaborate with Lorain artists to create these portraits. The exhibit will open on Friday, September 2nd during the Fire It Up! Festival Preview at the Broadway Block Party and stay open through the festival. This program is a part of the “Lorain: Portrait of a City” project.

Learn more here about Jeff Pye and the Start W/Art program.

Movie Night at Elmwood Cemetery

FireFish Arts will host a Halloween movie night at Elmwood cemetery  Friday, October 28th. A fun family-friendly movie will show first followed by an adult-themed Halloween movie. Costumes are encouraged and fun art activities will be going on during the movies.

Carida Cira Diaz Gallery Exhibit

FireFish Artist Board Member Carida Cira Diaz presents a curated body of paintings depicting her connection to Lorain and the reinvention of the city as well as herself. This program is a part of the “Lorain: Portrait of a City” project.

Winter/Spring 2022

Patterns of Time

FireFish Arts “Patterns of Time” quilts together Lorain’s culture in a large-scale kaleidoscopic art projection in downtown Lorain from February 12th through the 26th. A visually exciting interactive outdoor digital projection by Visionary and New Media Artist Ross Bochnek. Inspired by the garments featured annually in Lorain’s International Festival, this large-scale public kaleidoscopic event visually “quilts” together the many cultural and ethnic groups of Lorain in a large-scale art projection on the corner of Broadway Avenue and 7th Street.

Using visuals inspired by both textiles and the contributions of diversity to the community, “Patterns of Time” creates a dancing digital fabric stitched and woven together into a geometric transformation. Creating an almost dizzying incandescence, “Patterns of Time” reflects on both the past and the future of Lorain’s International City. The projection includes 1970’s era photos of the parade’s traditional clothing, people, and downtown Lorain, all scanned from the archives of the Lorain Historical Society.

Images included in “Patterns of Time” are from the Lorain International Festival photographs in the John Milas Collection courtesy of Lorain Historical Society and

PULP: Fold, Rip, Draw, Print

FireFish Arts is pleased to announce a group exhibition exploring the creative possibilities of paper as the primary means of artistic expression held in downtown Lorain from March 18th through the 25th. This will include origami, printmaking, installation, drawing as well as new and inventive ways of working with paper. The show is co-curated by Jason Shaffer and Ryan Craycraft who will both be participating in the exhibition.

Participating artists include Gregory Little, Nancy Halbrooks, Stevie Tanner, Jan Zorman, Sarah Nolan, James Ward Peak, Charlie Shaffer, Jason Shaffer, and Ryan Craycraft.

FireFish Arts 2022 Sponsors