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 Sept. 17th

Fire It Up! Festival Preview Party: Friday, September 2nd, 2022

The Fire It Up! Festival Preview at the Broadway Block Party on September 2nd in downtown Lorain provides a more intimate “taste” of the FireFish Festival, featuring work from FireFish artists and previewing art experiences from the festival. This smaller, more condensed experience celebrates the early days of FireFish when festival programming artistically activated vacant storefronts and alleys of what was then an empty downtown Lorain.

Taking place from 4 – 10 pm in the alley by Speak of the Devil, the event features video projections by Hiatt Hernon and Ross Bochneck, fire performances by Ohio Burn Unit, and art activities that will spill out onto the sidewalk of 5th Street up to Broadway Ave and the corner of 7th Street.

The event also serves to kick off a longer-term mural project inspired by the Lorain native Jason Molina’s Ohia: Farewell Transmission lyrics. Launched with an inaugural design by Tommy Nickoloff, one of Molina’s friends, the evening will also feature music of Molina interpreted by local musicians. 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 FireFish artist businesses and art locations.

FireFish Festival: Saturday, September 17th, 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 Ann 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.”

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.

Get Involved

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.


“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.

Jason Molina Songs: Ohia Mural

In collaboration with local artists and businesses, FireFish Arts pays tribute to the late Lorain musician Jason Molina with the creation of a mural that will include painted lyrics and imagery by an array of artists along the walls and alley of Speak of the Devil Lounge at 201 W 5th St.

Celebrating Jason Molina’s voice, notoriety, and musical contributions connecting back to his time in Lorain and Lorain County, the mural features an inaugural design by Tommy Nickoloff, one of Molina’s childhood friends, in a project that is intended to evolve to include other artists as part of the upcoming FireFish “Portrait of a City” Project. As a Lorain native, Molina had what has been described at times 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. Nickoloff, who is also filming a documentary about Molina, states that in the nine years since his passing “ It is exciting to see the way Lorain has blossomed into a musical and artistic city, a city that wants to honor and showcase  the arts and Lorain artists, and a place where we believe Molina would be proud to be remembered.”

The in-process mural will be highlighted during the Fire It Up! Broadway Block Party on Friday, September 2nd as part of the FireFish Festival Preview. This project is part of the “Portrait of a City” project and is coordinated by Daisy Goddard, FireFish Artist Board Member, and BRIAR Board Secretary and Treasurer.

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.

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.


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