FireFish Arts

FireFish Arts

Building a vibrant arts & culture community in downtown Lorain.

FireFish Festival 2022

2022 Programs & Events

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FireFish Festival 2022

FireFish Celebrating Nature 2022 Downtown Lorain Festival Preview Sept. 2nd 4 - 10 pm Festival Date Sept. 17th 2 - 11 pm

Festival Preview: Friday, September 2nd, 2022

The Fire It Up! Festival Preview at the Broadway Block Party on September 2nd in downtown Lorain will feature work from FireFish artists and preview art experiences from the festival. This smaller, more condensed party is from 4 – 11 pm in the alley by Speak of the Devil. Art installations and fiery encounters will spill out onto the sidewalk of 5th Street up to Broadway Ave and to the corner of 7th Street. In addition to the festival preview party, the community can use our map and follow the trail of FireFish Pollinator Sculpture Garden Pots to visit the galleries and exhibits at our artist’s businesses.

Festival Date: Saturday, September 17th, 2022

Downtown Lorain will be filled with activities, performances, vendors, and food trucks. Exhibits of work and shows featuring the FireFish Artist Advisory Board, community artists, and other invited local artists will be located in the auxiliary parking lot across from the police station. Festivalgoers can explore these unique spaces and creative art throughout the festival.

At 4 pm, the festival will officially launch with a performance by the Bread and Puppet Theatre at the corner of 2nd Street and Broadway. At 6:45 pm, the community along with performers, puppeteers, musicians, and drummers will line Broadway Ave and lead Festivalgoers along the annual Parade route to the James Levin FireFish Festival Finale Ceremony. The iconic finale performance will culminate in the “Burning of the Fire” at sunset. A celebration of music and dance will follow and continue until 11 pm.

Bread and Puppet Theatre

The circus is coming! The circus is coming! The 59-year-old, Vermont-based Bread and Puppet Theater is coming to the 2022 FireFish Festival with its iconic “Domestic Resurrection Circus.” Their performance at FireFish both celebrates the beauties while also lamenting the sorrows of our existence in a series of mask, music, and puppet vignettes that artistically connects to the theme of the James Levin FireFish Festival Finale Ceremony and “Burning of the Fire”: Fire, Rebirth, and our Connection to the Natural World.

Always influenced by current events, Bread and Puppet Theater fuses elements of art, music, and sculpture into the creation of a unique puppet theater that displays life in simple, ritualistic terms rather than trying to explain it or teach about it. Believing that theater is a necessity like bread, Bread and Puppet brings its theater out into the streets to those who may otherwise not go to the theater. Larger than life-size puppets, 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 programing, performing against the backdrop of the famous Bread and Puppet traveling bus.

The Domestic Resurrection Circus starts at 4 pm in the parking lot of LCCC City Center on the day of the festival. It is a 1 – 1.5 hour-long show. Following the show, Bread and Puppet serves its famous sourdough rye bread with aioli and sells prints and other memorabilia.

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

Large-scale puppets representing local flora and fauna created by artists, youth, and community members will be on view during the FireFish Festival, then parade to the iconic “Burning of the Fire” as part of the James Levin FireFish Festival Finale Ceremony.

While the FireFish itself has taken on many identities and personalities, this year’s monstrous FireFish 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.

FireFish Festival

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Food TruckFood Truck Vendor

Full Menu Vendors

Single Item Vendors
(i.e. ice cream, kettle corn)

Food Truck Vendor Application 

VendorArtisan/Crafter Vendors, Non-Profit Booth

Fee: $50

Booth Size: 10’ x 10’

We will only accept vendors that HANDCRAFT their products or create original pieces of artwork. Non-profits please use this application for your booth and list what will be at your booth.

Artisan/Crafter Vendor & Non-Profit Booth Application

Performance ArtPerformance Art Application

Music, Theater, Dance, Flow, Busker, and Street Performances

2022 FireFish Festival Performance Art Proposal 

Volunteer Application


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.


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.

Pollinator Sculpture Garden Pots

FireFish Artist Board Member Josh Biber temporary art installation includes flowerpots filled with pollinator plants and laser-cut, hand-painted, butterflies, birds, and bees. The pots are located in front of FireFish Artist businesses and organizations this summer and are a part of the festival, indicating locations for festival-goers to explore. 

Fire It Up! Broadway Block Parties

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

Jason Molina Songs: Ohia Mural

FireFish Arts, in collaboration with local artists and businesses, is creating an interactive work of community art that pays tribute to the late Lorain musician, Jason Molina. As a Lorain native, Molina had, at times, what has been described as a tempestuous relationship with the city. However, friends and family agree that what he took from Lorain was a tireless work ethic as well as the imagery of nature and blue-collar life used in his lyricism. In the nine years since his passing, Lorain has blossomed into a musical and artistic city, a city that wants to honor and showcase his dedication to the arts and one that he would hopefully fall in love with.

Led by Daisy Goddard (FireFish Artist Board Member and BRIAR Board Secretary and Treasurer), the tribute will include painted lyrics, imagery, and a portrait of Molina along the walls and alley of Speak of the Devil Lounge at 201 W 5th St. It will be unveiled during the Fire It Up! Broadway Block Party on Friday, September 2nd as part of the FireFish Festival Preview.  Featuring an inaugural design by Tommy Nickoloff, one of Jason’s friends, the event will also feature the music of Molina interpreted by local musicians and an opportunity to engage other artists in this exciting and ongoing project.

This project is part of the “Portrait of a City” project.

David Morales Alley Show

FireFish Artist Board Member David Morales hosts a free comedy show for the community during 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.

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. 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.

City Symphony Cinema Photography

FireFish Artist Board Member Hiatt Hernon’s debut of his short black and white “City Symphony Cinema Photography” video focuses on a day in the life of Lorain. The video premieres on Friday, September 2nd during the Fire It Up! Festival Preview at the Broadway Block Party and will stay open through the festival. This program is a part of the “Lorain: Portrait of a City” project.


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.

Digital Fabrication Workshop

FireFish Artist Board Member Carida Cira Diaz will lead a workshop focused on learning how to use the LCCC Fab Cab and Glow Forge to create holiday ornaments. The workshop will be located at LCCC City Center.

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

2022 Sponsors