The Paseo Arts District will host its annual Arts Festival this Memorial Day weekend. Festivities begin on May 28 at 10 a.m. and last until May 30.
The annual event will host over 80 visual artists selling original work in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography and jewelry. The galleries in the historic district will also be open during festival hours, many of which will be hosting special exhibits and new artists.
While this may seem like more than enough to catch the interest of the ever-growing art scene in Oklahoma City, the Arts Festival offers so much more, including music on two different stages. The stages will feature musicians performing everything from folk to country to some of the festival’s most popular returning acts.
The festival is celebrating its 40-year anniversary this year. Amanda Bleakly, Executive Director of the Paseo Arts Association, reflected on the growth it has achieved over the years.
“The festival was a way to bring people down to the area. There was a handful of volunteers who set up things and local artists would put out art that they wanted to sell,” said Bleakly. “It was a local event, and now we do a call for artists nationally and have artists that apply from all over the country.”
The Paseo Arts Festival is the largest fundraiser for the Paseo Arts Association, generally drawing more than 60,000 people annually. The funds raised are used to support art events and activities in the Paseo all year long.
Bleakly spoke on the unique way the festival earns revenue while also managing to support upcoming artists.
“We are very artist friendly. The event is small, neighborly and all about the artists. We don’t take a percentage of what they sell,” said Bleakly. “It’s a fundraiser for the arts district and we also sell food and beer, but the artists only pay for a booth fee.”
As a part of their fundraising efforts, the festival boasts a variety of food trucks and vendors, including Metro Minis and The Great Panini, as well as a beer garden, where Roughtail Brewery is offering craft beer. Urban Wine Works is also offering a 40 anniversary label to commemorate the Festival.
For those hoping to enjoy the event, the Paseo is offering free shuttle services that begin in the morning at Restoration Church at the Dome. Kid-friendly activities include two areas where kids can practice their crafting for free while their parents enjoy the shopping, great food, music, and extended gallery hours. The Paseo Arts Festival shows off the best of what the Paseo offers year-round, and all for a good cause.