By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The 2015 Festival of the Arts is now underway and will take place thru Sunday April 26 in downtown Oklahoma City. The festival area stretches from Walker Ave east to Robinson, and from Reno north to Sheridan.
Activities occur in the Festival Plaza, the Myriad Botanical Gardens, and on Hudson Avenue.
The event runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Leashed pets are not allowed.
Event co-chairs for the 2015 Festival of the Arts are Betsy Brunsteter and Louis Price.
“We’ve been working on the Festival for a couple of years, but the last couple of months have been pretty heavily involved with recruiting volunteers,” said Price. “It takes about 5,000 volunteers from to put on the Festival.”
Brunstetter says there are about 45 different committees involved in putting the Festival together. “There’s a lot of people involved and it really makes it fun,” she said.
Activities and interests are available for all ages. A variety of children’s activities are featured in the Youth Plaza and around Festival grounds. Arts for children and families include hands-on activities in the Children’s Art Field.
The Young-at-Art Mart is the children-only shopping venue with all artwork affordably priced for $5 or less. Families can also visit Face Painting, Pottery Place and Creation Station for more fun options.
One hundred and forty four artists were selected from more than 500 artists who submitted work for the Festival jury process. Media includes oils, water, drawing and printmaking, photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture, fiber, jewelry, wood, and two and three-dimensional works
The International Food Row is a favorite destination for Festival visitors. Thirty-one food vendors will bring their specialties. Each food vendor is partnered with a local arts organization, so each purchase supports the arts in central Oklahoma.
“This year vendors will offer Indian Tacos to Strawberries Newport, to Kaiser’s Ice Cream. There will be many of the traditional vendors visitors are familiar with as well as a few new ones,” Price added.
For the budget conscious, Mustard’s Last Stand offers hot dogs, chili pies, nachos, iced tea and Ozarka bottled water and coffee for $3 or less.
Nearly 300 entertainers of all ages donate their performances. They take place on four stages: The Cafe Stage (located on the Festival Plaza), the Art Moves Stage (located in the Myriad Gardens), the Water Stage (located in the Myriad Gardens) and the Great Lawn Stage (north of the Crystal Bridge).
The daily Art Moves program will be featured along with artist pop-up venues throughout Festival grounds. Participants can hear an acoustic musical or a live art demonstration from their favorite local artist.
This year the Festival welcomes back the Culinary Arts demonstration tent, at the SW corner of the Myriad Gardens. There will be demonstrations and tastings by local restaurants, chefs, and food vendors.
Children may complete two art projects – an origami kite and plant-a-seed for a $2 fee at Children’s Art Field. This tent is located in the Youth Plaza on the NE corner of the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
The popular Face Painting attraction, located at the southeast corner of the Myriad Garden, is only $1 for a simple design.
The annual youth talent show will showcase children, grades K-12, on the Great Lawn Stage at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Judged by local personalities, top final performances will be held Saturday at 6 p.m.
It’s Oklahoma City’s largest and oldest street fair,” Brustetter said.
All proceeds from the Festival of the Arts support the Arts Council of Oklahoma City’s year-round, free and low-cost programming. The Festival is open rain or shine.
For more information, call 405-270-4848 or visit www.artscouncilokc.com.