Since its inception in 1967, the Festival of the Arts has served as the harbinger of spring for residents of Oklahoma City. For fifty years, the Arts Council of Oklahoma City has sponsored a six-day, family-friendly celebration of the arts that ranges from food to music to fine art. Did we mention admission is completely free?
When and Where
The Festival of the Arts will be held from April 25-30, 2017, in Downtown Oklahoma City at Bicentennial Park. Events run from 11a.m. to 9p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Things to See and Do
The Festival of the Arts doesn’t just focus on fine arts, such as painting a sculpture. The festival showcases the work of over 100 local artists. These artists have worked with varied mediums including printmaking, watercolors, oil painting, work with fibers, jewelry, woodworking, and more.
It also acknowledges the artistry involved in live performance by having near-constant live performances during the week. Almost 300 acts will donate their talents on the three stages set up for the festival, so you won’t need to wait long for entertainment.
And what would any street festival be without delicious food? The festival’s dedication to the culinary arts returns in 2017 with Food Row, a collection of more than 30 vendors who celebrate the importance of diverse and delicious food options.
For the smallest family members, there’s plenty to keep busy with. There are hands-on activities in the Children’s Art Field, though they carry a two-dollar price tag. There’s also the Young-at-Art Mart, a children-only shopping area with all artwork priced at an allowance-friendly $5 or less. Families can also visit areas designated for face painting, pottery making, and more!
History of the Festival
This year, the Annual Festival of the Arts returns to its roots. Back in the 1960s, the National Endowment for the Arts was established to help fund arts across the U.S. A group in OKC got to work. An arts festival was suggested – even though artists didn’t like the idea of hanging their art outside – and the rest is history. That first festival had a single crepe vendor; this year, expect about 20 food trucks offering local favorites and inventive new dishes. This year, because of local development, the festival was moved to its old home at Bicentennial Park where it all started 50 years ago.