By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The 2016 Festival of the Arts will take place April 19-24 in Downtown Oklahoma City. This year, the Festival is in a new location – Bicentennial Park, located between Civic Center Music Hall and City Hall.
The 2016 Festival co-chairs, community volunteer Suzy Clowers and Kermit Frank, director of community relations for Dolese, a construction material supply company, are hard at work as the event prepares to make its debut.
“As the 2016 Festival of the Arts celebrates 50 years, it seems only appropriate to come home to the original location at Bicentennial Park,” said Clowers. “There are still 22 food vendors, 144 artists and three stages with non-stop entertainment for the entire family.”
In a recent interview with Mick Cornett, for The Mayor’s Magazine, Frank said, “We are in a way reinventing the wheel, but it is all the same things in a different place. The new venue adds certain dynamics to the show that I think are going to enhance it.”
A variety of children’s activities will be featured in the Youth Plaza. Arts for children and families include hands-on activities in the Children’s Art Field for just $2. This tent is located on the NW corner of the City Hall lawn.
“The new festival layout brings the children’s areas closer to the other attractions and the new configuration of Artists Square only invites our guests to take a stroll around the park,” Clowers added.
The Young-at-Art Mart is the children-only shopping venue with all artwork affordably priced for $5 or less. Families can experience Face Painting, Pottery Place and Creation Station, located on the west side of City Hall.
More than 500 artists applied and submitted work for the Festival jury process. From the 144 chosen artists media will include oils, water, drawing and printmaking, photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture, fiber, jewelry, wood, and two and three-dimensional works.
The Festival of the Arts inspires visitors to get excited about the creative process behind the art. Visitors are welcome to ask questions about how the artists create their works and see the materials close up.
From appetizers to desserts, the Festival is once again a celebration of the culinary arts.
“The International Food Rows will flank the Civic Center on the north and south sides and offer delectable treats ranging from the traditional favorites like Strawberries Newport, Indian Tacos and Baja Fish Tacos to new additions featuring Taste of Soul Egg Rolls, Crepe Brewers and Snow S’mores,” Clowers continued. “There is sure to be something you can’t resist.”
Each food vendor is partnered with a local arts organization, so each purchase supports the arts in central Oklahoma. To see the menu, click HERE.
Local chefs will be doing live demonstrations throughout the Festival.
Nearly 300 entertainers of all ages will donate their performances on three stages during the week.
The annual youth talent show will showcase the talents of children, grades K-12, on the Children’s Stage, presented by Sonic, at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Local talents will judge the event. Top performers will move to the finals on Saturday at 6 p.m. to be named the “ultimate Festival Idol.”
Earning national recognition, since 2009, the Go Green Committee has made significant changes to Festival of the Arts. The committee has achieved its goal of becoming one of the largest events in the nation to be eco-conscious. During this Festival, entirely compostable or recyclable materials will be used at every food location.
Visitors are asked to help the Festival to be green by observing educational signage, composting receptacles and recycling across Festival grounds.
“Parking is as easy as choosing any of the city’s Embark parking lots and taking advantage of the free shuttles that will run during Festival Hours,” Clowers 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.
The Festival of the Arts runs from April 19 through 24 opening at 11 a.m. every day and closing at 9 p.m. every day except Sunday when it closes at 6 p.m. Admission is free. No pets are allowed at the event.
For more information, call 405-270-4848 or visit www.artscouncilokc.com.