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47th Annual Festival of the Arts swings into spring

Art, food, entertainment and fun activities for all ages are in store for visitors to enjoy at this year's Festival of the Arts in downtown Oklahoma City. Photo provided.
Art, food, entertainment and fun activities for all ages are in store for visitors to enjoy at this year’s Festival of the Arts in downtown Oklahoma City. Photo provided.


By Darla Shelden
Contributing Writer

The 47th annual Festival of the Arts, takes place this week, April 23-28 in downtown Oklahoma City. The popular event will again be at the Festival Plaza and the Myriad Botanical Gardens. It runs 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday.

Each year the Festival of the Arts attracts up to 750,000 people in six days. Free admission, a diverse selection of art, a plethora of food choices, entertainment and fun activities for all ages are available for visitors.

“The brand new thing this year is the Culinary Art Demonstration Stage,” said event co-chair Linda Whittington. “It’s a brand new area for us that will feature, throughout the week, 23 local chefs, who will share cooking techniques, skills, and recipes while preparing something delicious.

“Michel Buthion of La Baguette Bistro has been an incredible help,” said Whittington. “He has really worked with me to get our local chefs involved. Both dear friends of mine, Alain Butthion will be doing the demonstrations and Michel will be at the Culinary Stage at different times during the festival.”

Culinary arts demonstrations will last 45 minutes each and take place between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 – 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The new stage will also feature the first OKC Festival Cook-Off on Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. between chefs Tabb Singleton, and Joseph Royer. Singleton is executive sous chef at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA Restaurant in New Orleans and winner of the Food Network’s “Chopped.” Royer is owner of Saturn Grill and two-time champion of the National Taste of Elegance competition hosted by the National Board of Pork.

The tented event, located on the north side of the plaza, will be limited to 75 people per cooking demonstration.

“Joseph and Tab, who is from Idabel, are two Oklahoma chefs who are going to have a pork cookoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning,” Whittington said.
The popular International Food Row will again feature favorite items like Indian Tacos, Strawberries Newport and Cajun King. New additions include Temptations Food, Inca Trail Peruvian Restaurant, Wong Key Asian Pacific, and Waffle Au Som.

Each of the 31 food vendors is partnered with a local arts-related non-profit agency, helping to support the arts in central Oklahoma with each purchase.

“We’ll have over 300 entertainers to perform throughout the week of Festival,” said Whittington. “We’ll have four stages this year, two in the Gardens and two in the actual festival grounds.”

The festival will have one stage dedicated to the new program, Art Moves, featuring artists and performers presented by Devon Energy.
The Festival features nearly 200 artists from 27 states, including many from Oklahoma.

Special exhibits, like the South Hudson Gallery, will showcase some of Oklahoma’s favorite artists, including Bert Seabourn and Desmond Mason.
Whittington added, “The Hudson Gallery this year features our Pro Am Exhibit where we have professional artists pair up with local celebrities, which this year are all past Festival co-chairs.

“Another exciting thing we’re doing this year is moving some of our displays and interactive events to the Garden area. In the southeast corner of the Myriad Garden we’ll have the face painting and Creation Station for kids.” said Whittington.

The Youth Plaza will feature activities for children and families. The Young at Art Mart is a special no-adults-allowed section where children can purchase art created by their favorite Festival artists for $5 or less.

The Artful Experience, also located in the southeast corner of the Myriad Gardens, will feature the creative process behind the art. Several artistic forms will be demonstrated from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. each day. You can see artists at work on woodturning, sculpting, painting, printmaking and other various media.

Art demonstrations will be presented by Central Oklahoma Woodturners Association, Paseo Arts Association, Pinot’s Palette, and other selected artists from Oklahoma. The Mural project will be hosted by Dr. Bob Palmer and University of Oklahoma students.

“We’re really excited about being able to move these events and use more of the Garden space,” said Whittington.

All proceeds from the Festival of the Arts go to support the Arts Council of Oklahoma City’s year-round, free and low-cost programming.
Festival of the Arts is produced by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City and presented by Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy.

For more information, call 405-270-4848 or visit

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