As known being a tourist destination Lamu plays a big role in the world of art and craft. From woodcarving to painting, photography and weaving, the talented local and foreign participants exhibit their work within the Town Square and galleries in Lamu and Shela. Artists from around the world are known to come to Lamu since the annual Lamu Painters Festival first took place in 2011.

The biannual Shela Hat contest since 2010 competitors making funny hats from used available materials and this year the two events were combined to form the Lamu Art Festival where local artists got opportunity to learn from famous painters who held classes and demos on painting.

Music is another form of art during the festival that brought more attention when famous Kenyan artists performed with Lamu musicians. In addition to improving the art talents, Lamu County Government formed the Lamu Art And Theatre Association (LATA) bringing together all form of artists in Lamu to share their creative ideas and work together in making their livelihood through art.

For all these years Mr. Herbert Menza a German investor in Lamu supported the Lamu Painters Festivals and Shela Hat Contests. Now Lamu County Government also supports and combines them to form the annual Lamu Art Festival.