Aging, depopulation, and stagnation are serious problems for island communities in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. As a result, many of these communities have seen their distinguishing features and cultural identities disappear, and some face outright extinction. The Setouchi Triennale strives to revitalize twelve of these islands through art festival tourism. While it has been claimed that the art festival has become a model for policies aimed at community revitalization and tourism, the response of many local residents to the festival’s development model and certain issues caused by the presence of tourists indicate persistent problems. This research examines how a rural art festival influences local communities - particularly, whether a top-down initiative can boost tourism while also leading to bottom-up, sustainable community development outcomes. The conceptual framework of the research integrates art interventions, rural art festival tourism, revitalization, and creative placemaking in the context of island communities. Mixed methods field research was conducted on the largest Setouchi Triennale island, Shodoshima. The study found that Setouchi Triennale turned the island into an art destination and it is playing a significant role in supporting the revitalization of regional culture and local tourism businesses. However, the research identified very few bottom-up initiatives