OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For the first time in two years, art, food and fans are downtown for the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts.
After the pandemic canceled last year’s event and pushed this year’s from April to June, the date may be different but the great event remains the same.
Local artists and those from across the country say they are thrilled to be back out in Oklahoma City.
“This is one of the first major shows in the country,” said Kaycee Nolting, festival co-chair. “We are thrilled to be one of the first stops.”
“A lot of people say, ‘What’s your best show? Is it Chicago or New York?’ I say no, Oklahoma City,” said artist Elaine Lanoue.
Lanoue and her brightly colored portraits have made the trek from Houston to Oklahoma City since the late 90’s.
“I’ve done about 17 shows,” she said.
But last year, COVID-19 left her work and that of other artists hanging in the balance.
“It’s been terrible,” said Lanoue. “A lot of them had to get other sources of income. For some reason, we’re non-essential even though we think we’re essential or should be essential but we’re surviving.”
Though the shows stopped, these artists got creative in how they profit off their creativity.
“The grasshopper over here is a prototype for a larger jungle gym I’m doing for a development in Edmond called the Ice House,” said local artist Klint Schor.
The Arts Council of Oklahoma City worked on a health safety plan for this year, pushing the date to June and extending the festival’s footprint
“They’ve kind of taken out some of the close quarters, if you will, between patrons and volunteers and staff and artists,” said Randy Cassimus, Festival of the Arts Co-Chair.
Enthusiasm to participate was high.
“We had over 500 applicants, 144 artists from all over the country,” Cassimus said.
That includes Festival Artist Prince Duncan Williams, who was born in Ghana.
“But I arrived in LAX, in Los Angeles Airport in 1982, February 22nd, I remember that date,” Williams said.
He brings a unique flair with his silk art.
“Once the composition is done, I spread adhesive all over then I do the outlines,” he said.
The festival runs Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
It is a fundraiser for the Arts Council of OKC, providing education in schools and experiences like Opening Night on New Year’s Eve.