It’s time for the Festival of the Arts and that means fine arts, entertaining activities, fine foods and of course, rain, which would be an especially welcome sight this year in the drought-ravaged, Sooner state. Precipitation will most assuredly arrive with the 45th annual Festival of the Arts, a standing joke amongst many locals.
The unofficial “rite of spring” April 26-May 1, is the staging of entertainment, an arts showcase and food extravaganza. Event co-chairs for 2011 are Ray Bitsche and Kym Mason.
The festivities are expected to draw at least three quarters of a million visitors. Leading sponsors this year are Chesapeake Energy Corp., Ozarka Coffee and Water Service, MidFirst Bank, The Oklahoman, Sonic Corp., Devon Energy, and the Arts Council of OKC.
For more information, call 405-270-4848 or visit www. ArtsCouncilOKC.com.
More than 500 artists applied and submitted work for the Festival jury process. The 144 chosen artists are some of the nation’s finest. Media includes oils, acrylics, sculpture, fiber, jewelry, wood, leather, and two and three-dimensional works.
Here’s breakdown of what visitors can expect:
The Visual Arts, The Festival features 144 fine artists in Artist Row plus large sculptures in the Sculpture Park. Curated by the South Hudson Gallery committee,
this year’s South Hudson Gallery exhibit will feature curators by South Hudson Gallery Committee and will feature a Pro-Am of professional artists paired with local celebrities to create a collaborativework of art.
The Culinary Arts, Some new vendors this year will be Grand Slam Grill which will feature Cajun specialties such as gumbo and shrimp on the barbie. Arguably, one of the biggest draws is the international Food Row, where festivalgoers can find old favorites such as Indian tacos, Strawberries Newport and Bodacious Burritos. Kona Ice will feature its Flavo wave where diners can make their own frozen shaved-ice treats. Each food vendor has collaborated with a local arts-related, nonprofit
agency, so each bite goes to support the arts in central Oklahoma.
The Performing Arts, Festival of the Arts has four stages offering continuous performing arts entertainment ranging from the youngest elementary school performers to professional musicians. More than 300 performers donate their time and talent to entertain Festival crowds, which reach up to 750,000 in six days. This year’s street performer group is Richard Renner, the Vodvill Klown. He will be roaming the grounds, wowing audiences with a variety of tricks including stilt-walking
There will be plenty of fine art to see and admire. All artwork is original and is for sale. For those on a budget, visit the Artist Market, just south of Stage Center, for reproductions, posters, and notecards of original works by Festival artists, Everything in the Artist Market is priced at $60 or less.
Art for Children New this year at the Youth Plaza is the youth Art Sale, where kids can apply for booth space and sell their art just like seasoned festival artists. At the
Young-at Art Mart, where kids only can purchase art offered by Festival artists for $5 or less. Plus there are plenty of hands-on children’s activities in the Youth Plaza and around Festival grounds such as Pottery Place, face-painting and Creation Station. Arts for children and families include hands-on activities in the Children’s
Art Field for just $2.
There is also a Community Arts Showcase tent and performances at the Children’s Stage, including school groups and a children’s talent show called Festival Idol. Face painting, a children’s festival favorite, will be located nearby at the north side of the Crystal Bridge. And for a free activity, children should venture to Creation Station,
where they can help build and add on to a giant sculpture.
The Arts Council receives special funding through an Inasmuch Foundation grant. The event is located at the Festival Plaza and the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Hours are 11am to 9pm Tuesday through Saturday and 11am to 6 pm Sunday. Admission is free, and pets are not allowed. For more information, visit www.ArtsCouncil-
OKC.com or call 405-270-4848. The Arts Council of Oklahoma City is a non-profit 501 c(3) organization dedicated to bringing the arts and the community
together through free or low-cost cultural events and a variety of arts outreach activities that impact underserved populations.