Art lovers, music fans and foodies are invited to go back to school to celebrate the final days of summer.
Oklahoma City Community College is hosting the 34th Annual Arts Festival Oklahoma Saturday through Monday under the big tents on the festival grounds at the north end of campus. The event has become a favorite Labor Day weekend tradition at the school, said Lemuel Bardeguez, OCCC's director of cultural programs.
“It's just a really great way to kind of cap the summer: See some great art, buy some prints or original art to finish your home with. If you have a family, bring the kids out,” he said. “It's a really great family event.”
Every Labor Day weekend, more than 25,000 people flock to the three-day festival, where more than 160 artist booths are set up under block-long tents, a performing arts stage spotlights a variety of live entertainment and a food court serves up a wide array of mouthwatering treats.
Tulsa mixed-media painter Neil Cluck is the featured artist for the 2012 festival. An image of one of his three-dimensional abstract skyscapes is depicted on this year's limited edition poster. The original oil-on-wood work will be exhibited during the festival at Cluck's booth, but Bardeguez said he expects it to sell quickly after the event opens Saturday.
“The poster design doesn't do justice to the piece (since) the piece is actually three dimensional,” Bardeguez said. “It's quite interesting. It's quite eye-catching.”
Cluck, 58, is participating in the festival for the sixth time in the past decade and his second year in a row.
“I like the Oklahoma City setting. The people there are pretty open-minded. I think all the art like the Chihuly ... has really kind of opened them up to accepting new things,” Cluck said.
About 150 visual artists from across the state, region, country and even Canada have been juried into this year's festival. Their creations include drawings, paintings, photography, pottery, glass art, jewelry, mixed media, wood and metal works, sculpture, fine crafts and fiber art.
One booth this year will be dedicated to displaying works by OCCC art students, Bardeguez said.
“This is something that we're trying this year to give them kind of the opportunity to show their artwork and be able to sell some of their artwork,” he said.