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Festival of Arts gets more expansive and interactive than ever

Oklahoma City's rite of spring is delving even deeper into the art of food with the addition of the Culinary Arts Demonstration Stage.
by Brandy McDonnell Published: April 19, 2013
/articleid/3788472/1/pictures/2016867">Photo -  Laurie Dale Keffer tags paintings done by her husband, Oklahoma City artist Jim Keffer, in preparation for the 2012 Festival of the Arts. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman <strong>DOUG HOKE</strong>
Laurie Dale Keffer tags paintings done by her husband, Oklahoma City artist Jim Keffer, in preparation for the 2012 Festival of the Arts. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman DOUG HOKE

Like the visual artists who exhibit at the festival, the concessionaires must go through a competitive jury process. In addition, each of the 31 food vendors must partner with a local arts organization, said Stacy Hawthorne, communications director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma.

Again situated on the west side of the Myriad Gardens, the festival's 6-Day Wine Cellars are expanding and adding mimosas and premium beers to the menu, too.

Interactive visuals

The recent renovations to the Myriad Gardens lend themselves to airing out the festival, Whittington said.

“It allows us to have more area and not be so confined,” she said. “And of course, the beauty of the gardens is incredible this time of year.”

While the Children's Art Field, Young-At-Art Mart and Youth Art Sale will be near the permanent Children's Garden, the Creation Station and face painting booth (intended for children 12 and younger) have been shifted to flank the relocated Artful Experience.

In the Sculpture Park, which this year is spotlighting the work of Oklahoma artists, Larry Pickering and Brett McDanel also will demonstrate a variety of techniques from 6 to 7 p.m. daily throughout the festival.

Although the 144 festival artists exhibiting on Hudson Avenue hail from around the country, Hawthorne said the event showcases many talented Oklahomans.

Local performers

For the second year, the festival will boast an Art Moves Stage, transplanting the council's popular daily downtown traveling arts program to the festival grounds during the event. With the festival spreading out into the gardens, the stage will be moved to the highly trafficked east side of the gardens where the ice rink sits in the winter.

This year, the Art Moves Stage will spotlight different genres of music every evening, from classical and jazz to indie and neo-soul.

More than 300 performers donate their time and talent to entertain on the festival's four stages, and the vast majority of them hail from Oklahoma, Hawthorne said.

“We're highlighting a lot of local artists throughout the grounds,” she said. “We have so many local art people coming out and offering up these really unique experiences.”

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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