By Christina Clagg Reyes | Photography provided by Arts Council Oklahoma City
For nearly half a century, the Arts Council has been delighting the community with the Festival of the Arts, an annual celebration of visual, performing and culinary arts. The 2017 Festival of the Arts will kick off on April 25 and run through April 30 in downtown OKC at Bicentennial Park. The festival is FREE and runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m on Sunday.
For six days, festival-goers will be treated to a variety of activities, exhibits, food and entertainment. With 750,000 attendees expected, the festival grounds are sure to be buzzing with excitement. “I love how Festival is such a familiar community gathering, yet every year you can expect to see and experience something new!” says Gilbert Magdaleno, Festival of the Arts Director.
If you are a foodie, you will definitely enjoy International Food Row where you’ll find 31 vendors supplying specialties like Indian Tacos, Strawberries Newport and Papa’s Greek Foods. Debbie Forshee, Co-Chair 2017 Festival of the Arts says it’s “one of the BEST fine arts festivals in the U.S.! We’re proud to feature amazing and diverse food options, including this year’s newest additions: gourmet burgers and sushi!”
Don’t worry about crushing your diet. Each vendor is partnered with an arts organization, so every taste benefits the arts in central Oklahoma. You’ll be doing the arts a favor, so eat up!
The festival will feature some of the finest art from around the country. While 500 artists submitted work for the festival, only 144 artists were chosen to be featured at the festival. Mediums include oils, water, drawing and printmaking, photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture, fiber, jewelry, wood, and two—and three-dimensional works.
Over 300 performers of various ages will provide the festival’s entertainment. “There’s exciting entertainment on three stages, with performances spanning numerous genres, including country, pop, folk, rock, rap and jazz!” adds Forshee.
Festival’s Got Talent, formerly Festival Idol, is back for another year. This annual talent competition for children grades K-12 allows young performers the opportunity to perform before local judges and a live audience. Many forms of entertainment are welcome, including singing, dancing, instrumentals and more. The top 10 rated acts will compete on Sunday, April 30 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. You won’t want to miss it!
Festival of the Arts also features many activities just for families. “Festival of the Arts is a family friendly event, with entertainment and activities to delight all ages,” says Steve Bolton, Co-Chair, 2017 Festival of the Arts, adding, “We’re excited that this year’s festival will feature an expanded children’s area. We’re excited to see the response to Creation Station’s move to a new, larger location.”
For just $2, children and families can engage in hands-on activities in the Children’s Art Field. In addition, the Young-at-Art Mart is a children-only shopping venue in which all artwork is priced at $5 or less. Families will also enjoy face painting, pottery place, and so much more.
Come rain or shine, the 2017 Festival of the Arts is sure to satisfy the senses of all who attend. “Whether you’re attending for the first time or you’ve been coming all your life, Festival of the Arts is without a doubt the most enjoyable art event of the season. There is literally something for everyone who enjoys celebrating the arts and our community,” says Peter Dolese, Executive Director, Arts Council Oklahoma City.
For more information about the 2017 Festival of the Arts, visit ArtsCouncilOKC.com.
FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
Parking will be available in the Bob Howard lot south of Reno. A Chesapeake Energy CNG shuttle will pick up passengers at the Bob Howard parking lot every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily during the festival.
Paid parking is available in lots and garages located throughout downtown Oklahoma City. Limited street parking is located around the perimeter of the event. Please visitparkingokc.com to see a list of available lots.
No pets are allowed at the event.