By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
UPDATE: Originally scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25, the Paseo Arts Festival will now take place on Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7 in response to COVID-19.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The 44th Annual Paseo Arts Festival will take place Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. with live music until 10 p.m., and Sunday, May 25 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Located between Northwest 27th and 30th Streets and Walker and Lee, the Historic Paseo Arts District will feature nearly 100 nationally acclaimed visual artists with original artwork, from painting, ceramics and photography to woodworking, glass, sculpture and jewelry.
Voted Best Free Entertainment in Oklahoma Gazette’s 2019 Best of OKC, the festival is famous for its more than 50 musicians and live performers on three stages who donate their time and talents to support the Paseo.
The festival food court will feature 20 food and drink vendors with traditional and not-so-traditional festival treats, both savory and sweet. Food court menus will offer gyros, monster wraps, Indian tacos, grilled sirloin on a stick, and fried tacos. There will be a variety of craft beer on tap and in a can, as well as staple Budweiser products.
The creator of this year’s featured festival artwork is artist Jerry Bennett, a full-time illustrator creating comic books, children’s books and shirt designs for licensed brands such as Lucasfilm, Marvel and DC.
Bennett was selected as the 2018-2019 SPACE Artist in Residence at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.
“Jerry was such a strong representative of the arts community in Oklahoma City while he was our SPACE artist,” said Amanda Bleakley, executive director of the Paseo Arts Association. “Partnering with him for this year’s featured festival artwork was a no brainer.”
Inspired by Paseo Arts District landmarks and architecture, Jerry created a piece of art that looks to be straight from one of his graphic novels, Bleakley says..
Bennett’s work will be featured on t-shirts that festival goers can purchase, as well as on signed archival prints available in two sizes.
Official artists of the Paseo Arts Festival will display a lime green Paseo Arts Association flag, indicating their selection through a competitive juried process and support of the organization’s largest annual fundraiser.
The money raised through beverage and merchandise sales directly supports the mission of the Paseo Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. These funds will be used to produce Paseo programs and events provided to the community year-round, such as the Fairy Ball, Magic Lantern, SPACE, FEAST and First Friday Gallery Walks.
The free children’s area, located at the corner of 29th and Dewey, allows future artists to explore the arts and have fun while being creative.
A Village Deluxe Motorcoach will run a continuous route from the free parking lot at the First Christian Church at NW 36th & Walker, and drop visitors off at the north end of the festival at 30th & Dewey. Shuttle hours are 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. May 25 and 26, and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. May 27.
Each year, the Paseo Arts Festival draws tens of thousands of people who come to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of this annual Oklahoma City tradition. The festival is the Paseo Arts Association’s largest fundraiser, enabling the organization to offer arts programs and events in the Paseo year-round.
Oklahoma City’s unique arts destination, the Paseo offers dozens of galleries, restaurants and shops which were built in distinctive Spanish Mission Revival style, all within walking distance.
Another festival, which features arts, crafts and souvenirs, will runs adjacent and concurrently in the neighborhood that weekend, but is not associated with the Paseo Arts Festival.
“What once started as a small street fair with a handful of volunteers, neighborhood prepared food, peg board booths and a borrowed stage, has grown to a nationally juried festival with over 60,000 visitors annually,” said Bleakley.
“We look forward to the festival all year because it’s so much fun to plan.”
Organizers are looking for volunteers to help with this year’s festival. To get involved, or for a complete schedule of events, visit thepaseo.org/festival. For more information, call 405-525-2688.
The City Sentinel is a proud sponsor of the Paseo Arts Festival.