News Column

Paseo Arts Festival in Oklahoma City showcases sustainability along with visual and performing arts

May 23, 2014

By Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City



May 23--The art of sustainable living will be showcased along with a wide array of visual and performing arts at the 38th annual Paseo Arts Festival.

"Learning how to raise your own food, learning how to take care of yourself, learning how to do things for yourself and learning how to take care of each ... is really important. So, that's what we want to provide to people," said Amy Young, co-founder and co-owner of SixTwelve, a community education center focused on the arts and sustainability.

SixTwelve, projected to open in autumn, will host an open house as well as an array of hands-on children's activities and live entertainment during the Memorial Day weekend festival.

Along with two children's areas, the Paseo Arts Festival will offer two additional live entertainment stages, more than 80 artist booths and 15 food vendors from Saturday through Monday in the historic Paseo Arts District, between NW 28 and Walker and NW 30 and Dewey.

Artistic tradition

More than 60,000 people attend the event each year. Although admission is free, it is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Paseo Arts Association and helps fund events like the Magic Lantern Celebration and Fairy Ball. Sales of drink, T-shirts and posters at the festival benefit the association.

"It's to basically fund so many of our community events that are going on, our children's programs, working with Edgemere (Elementary) School. So it's money that's needed because we give it back to the community," said festival chairman Collin Rosebrook, owner of Paseo Pottery.

As usual, Paseo Drive will be closed to vehicles and open to booths showcasing the work of artists from 15 states. Art lovers will be able to peruse a wide variety of paintings, photography, woodwork, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture and more.

The 20 or so galleries and studios in the neighborhood, a sort of hidden gem renowned for its Spanish revival architecture, also will be open during the festival.

"This is one place in the city where there's more galleries and more central focus of artists than anywhere else. So it really does help to just open the eyes of the public again to say, 'Oh yeah, I remember Paseo,'" Rosebrook said.

The festival will offer continuous live musical entertainment on two stages, with all 50-plus acts on the lineup performing for free. Along with mainstays like Tarpley's Tappers and guitarist Edgar Cruz, local musicians including Kyle Reid and the Low Swingin' Chariots, Camille Harp and The Wurly Birds will keep the electric South Stage rocking until 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 6 p.m. Monday.

The North Stage will feature acoustic performers such as Carter Sampson, Denver Duncan and North Meets South.

"The lineup this year, I've never seen anything like it. It is exceptional," said Peter Dolese, a Paseo resident and executive director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.

"I've always felt like the Paseo Arts Festival celebrates a neighborhood better than any event that I have ever been to ... and Paseo is for the whole city. But what it does is it brings the whole city to a historic neighborhood and allows people to celebrate that incredible treasure."

Fringe Film Festival

Dolese is giving festivalgoers an incentive to stay a little later with the launch of his Paseo Fringe Film Festival, a free after-hours outdoor film showcase in the grassy area off the alley behind Paseo Originals Gallery.

The film fest is launching at dusk, or about 8:30 p.m., Friday with a pair of classics: "Casablanca" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

The fringe event also will showcase the films of two late, great directors: It will offer John Hughes Night at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, featuring "Ferris Bueller'sDay Off" and "The Breakfast Club," and pay homage to Harold Ramis at 8:30 p.m. Sunday with "Caddyshack" and "National Lampoon's Vacation."

"It's just the idea of having an open, free opportunity to bring out the family and enjoy an evening of film after the festival's closed," Dolese said.

Artists of the Future

Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan will offer its venerable Paper Play Theatre, where youngsters can craft whimsical creations out of paper, vintage photos and the like. Meanwhile, the Artists of the Future tent, where children can create spin art, clay sculptures and more, will move to the SixTwelve lawn, 612 NW 29.

Plus, youngsters can engage in environmentally themed art activities such as making plastic fusion art out of discarded shopping bags, building a community musical wall out of recycled car parts and other items and filling a large earthworm sculpture with plastic drink bottles.

SixTwelve also will host its PicnicLand, a spot with shaded picnic tables and live entertainment from yo-yo champion Marilyn Or, hip-hop artist Gregory Jerome, bluegrass outfit Bread and Butter Band and more.

"We think that the arts are important, we think that sustainability is important, but our main, most important mission is to bring people together," Young said.

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Source: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)


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