THE ARTS FESTIVAL OF ATLANTA opens Sept. 10 in Piedmont Park, featuring performances by more than 40 dance, music, and theater companies. This is the 35th year of the festival, which continues through Sept. 18. Children's activities and performances are scheduled all nine days. An artist market will showcase the juried, mixed-media work of 250 craftsmen from parts of the United States. All events are free to the public. THE STAGE VERSION OF `ON THE WATERFRONT,' Budd Schulberg's award-winning novel that became an Oscar-winning 1956 movie, will have its world premi`ere at the Cleveland Play House Oct. 18-Nov. 20. Artistic director Josephine Abady will stage the adaptation by Mr. Schulberg and Stan Silverman. The cast will include Grant Snow as ex-prizefighter Terry Malloy and Richard Herd as corrupt union boss Johnny Friendly. `SUMPTUOUS' STILL LIFE PAINTINGS by more than 30 artists from the 17th century will be displayed at the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 1-Nov. 27. More than 50 paintings will be shown in what is described as the first major international exhibition of Dutch still lifes to be seen in the United States. The ``sumptuous'' label refers to the choice of precious and exotic objects for depiction, conferring an atmosphere of luxury and opulence on these works. The paintings will also be shown at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, starting Dec. 10.

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