By guruscotty March 17, 2022 May 13th, 2022 No Comments

Art. Music. Action.

With spring’s arrival comes a flurry of outdoor festivals, some making their first appearance since COVID cancellations two years ago, including Fort Worth’s MAIN ST. Arts Festival.

In the next couple of months, you’ll have a chance once again to not only add to your art collection but to indulge in turkey legs and funnel cakes, listen to live music and dance like nobody’s watching. There’s plenty to do for the kids, too.

Browsing all the vendors is a popular way to check out the goods, but we like to plan ahead. Sleuthing out the artists’ websites and taking note of interesting vendors we definitely want to check out in person helps to keep us from being overwhelmed when we arrive. The first day of each festival is often a prime shopping opportunity, as crowds can be smaller and inventory is at its best.

Remember that many of the exhibitors — from ceramicists to jewelry makers to painters — travel from city to city throughout the country to show and sell their wares. They make friends and form relationships with local patrons. The festival format is an opportunity to talk with them and learn more about their craft. It’s also a great time to say, “Welcome back.”

Here’s a brief breakdown of five of our favorite events, including the homegrown Art in The Square. Check out the websites for more information, including tickets and parking.

MAIN ST. Arts Festival, Fort Worth

April 7-10 

Downtown Fort Worth will be filled with the sights, sounds and aromas of the 35th edition of the juried art show. With an army of volunteers and organizers who have years of experience, this event will no doubt run smoothly, even following a two-year hiatus. Artists from around the country join local talent to set up on the red bricks of downtown Cowtown. Four stages showcase multiple genres of musical entertainment, including a Grammy nominee and the multimedia troupe known as Squonk Opera, which entertains with original music and design, including a pair of giant purple puppet hands. Food and beverage service no longer requires coupons for purchases (credit cards only), and offerings range from burgers to craft beer to fruit smoothies. For kids’ enjoyment, there’s the TCC Makers Zone.

MAIN ST.’s juried artist lineup includes Clifton Henri, a Chicago photographer, who says he is “deeply influenced” by imagery from the Civil Rights movement and the Harlem Renaissance era. Pictured is The High Road, an archival pigment print. Photo courtesy of Clifton Henri

The sound of music, from local talent, fills downtown during the festival. Festivalgoers can browse for art, enjoy food and more from the courthouse to the convention center. Photo by Geno Loro

Always kid-friendly, MAIN ST. offers a Makers Zone with lots of activities. Photo by Geno Loro

The Emerging Artist section features local talent including Arlington’s Kristy Jarvis, whose art reflects her love of animals. Her whimsical sculptures are made with layers of clay and papier-mâché; each piece is then hand-painted. Photo courtesy of Kristy Jarvis

Art in the Square, Southlake

April 22-24

Presented by the Southlake Women’s Club, this event spotlights more than 200 artists, including emerging talent. There are also two stages of live entertainment; the April 23 tribute to Prince is one of the musical highlights. And, of course, there’s plenty to eat and drink, with tickets required for all festival food and beverages. Check out a variety of food options at Le Bistro dining area (i Fratelli Pizza, Feedstore BBQ, Taziki’s and Little German Kitchen are some of the vendors). Drinks include a bellini and margarita tent, iced tea stands and more. Art in the Square welcomes kids and provides plenty of activities, including the Kids Korner with hands-on art activities, wearable-wig decorating and more. The Zone provides large inflatables, obstacle courses and more for endless bouncing, climbing and jumping. Proceeds from the event, including kids’ activities, benefit more than 28 local nonprofits serving families in the area.

Featured artists at this year’s Art in the Square include Kim Eubank of Madrid, New Mexico. She works with layers of oil paint, carving into the layers with a special tool to give them more depth. Her images are inspired by her experience as a woman living in today’s modern world. Photo courtesy of Kim Eubank

Radim Schreiber, who’s based in Iowa, is a nature photographer who has created a series called the “Firefly Experience.” The photographs capture how the tiny insects illuminate the world around them. Pictured is A Flash of Hope. Photo courtesy of Radim Schreiber

Town Square comes to life during the three-day festival with music, art and food. Kids are welcome. Look for specific areas set aside for lots of hands-on activities. Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis Photography

Kevin Zuckerman is also a featured artist. His abstract paintings explode with color and movement.  Photo courtesy of Kevin Zukerman

Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Dallas

April 1-3 

If you’re looking for something a bit eclectic, a little more rock ’n’ roll, head to Deep Ellum for this three-day festival. Events begin and end later than at other festivals, as five blocks of the funky cultural district are transformed by musicians and artists, some of whom will create original works as you watch. Confirmed participants are listed on the website, so you can browse by genre. Eats include everything from Mexican to Mediterranean cuisine along with street fair classics. Children are welcome, but festival organizers stress that everything is definitely geared toward adults and that no specific activities are scheduled for kids.

Marge Luttrell of Knoxville, Tennessee, calls herself a “storyteller” and will be exhibiting her encaustic mixed media art at this year’s Deep Ellum festival. Photo courtesy of Marge Luttrell

Natasha Mylius is based in Austin and specializes in colorful and expressive portraiture. Photo courtesy of Natasha Mylius

Take in both the sights and sounds of the festival, which features a varied lineup of talent. Photo courtesy of Deep Ellum Arts Festival

Cottonwood Art Festival, Richardson

May 7-8

This two-day semiannual event has been around for more than 50 years. It celebrates both established artists and young, emerging talent. For kids, there’s ArtStop, a plethora of activities including weaving, working with polymer clay, painting and pottery making with experts. Check out two stages of entertainment — one acoustic — and a food court, beer tent and beverage carts stationed throughout the grounds.

Marjolyn van der Hart is this year’s featured artist, specializing in mixed media. Her layered work is part of the 2022 festival poster. Photos courtesy of Cottonwood Art Festival

Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival, Richardson

May 20-22

Another biggie in Richardson, the Wildflower! festival celebrates 30 years in May. This event rightfully includes music in its name, as the entertainment lineup features acts such as popular disco band Le Freak, a Rolling Stones tribute band, Texas singer-songwriter Jason Eady and ’90s fave Collective Soul. Go for the music, but check out the food and art vendors, too. This is a ticketed event, with general admission and package deals available.

The patrons are as colorful as the art at Wildflower!

Collective Soul, known best for the massive hit Shine in the mid-’90s, takes the stage Friday. Photo courtesy of Collective Soul