Memorial Park Art Mania
40 and fabulous: Bayou City Art Festival celebrates milestone year
Bayou City Art Festival, that biannual wonderland of outdoor art, is officially over the hill. Now breaching its fourth decade, the event launches Friday with a bang-up lineup of weekend activities at Memorial Park that's fresher than ever.
"Who else is around for 40 years and at the top of their game?" asks Kim Stoilis, the festival's executive director.
The festival's roots lie in the creative hotbed of lower Westheimer Road, where, in 1971, Montrose denizens and retail mavericks started a community arts and crafts festival to raise money for the area's beautification. The group became the Westheimer Colony Association, and two years later, the event went biannual.
The Westheimer Arts Festival became a national talent draw and continually donated proceeds to local charitable organizations. In 1995, WCA became the Art Colony Association, and in 1997, the new moniker Bayou City Art Festival was adopted. Now art lovers eagerly anticipate the downtown festival in the fall and the Memorial Park-based spring incarnation.
Stoilis grew up attending BCAF when it was just a petite street fair held once a year in Montrose. "I love the place it has in my life," she says.
"Any event being 40 years old speaks to its authenticity. Now it's a nationally ranked outdoor art gallery in this upscale environment that celebrates the performing and visual arts," Stoilis says.
And what would a birthday bash be without birthday cake? Visitors can cut the cake with BCAF Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. during a special 40th anniversary announcement and again during a Sunday awards ceremony at 2 p.m.
Sweets aside, Stoilis says the weekend's biggest draw is "The Living Garden," an entertainment experience in which performers manifest as flora and Classical sculptures.
"Rocks, trees and vines will all come to life," says Stoilis. "It will be very special and magical."
Also making a culture cameo are a slew of past BCAF featured artists at the 40th Anniversary Ruby Slipper Breakfast at the Omni (tickets here). It will be top hats and parasols galore come Sunday, as ladies and gents channel their Victorian vices at the VIP Sunday in the Art White Glove Brunch and Art Grab.
While strolling Memorial Park amid the work of more than 300 artists, don't miss out on the concurrent Art of Food and Art of Wine events.
Got kiddos in tow? Scoot to the Gexa Energy Creative Zone, an interactive family area where children and parents can explore the fun of art together.
Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park will run Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and free for kids 12 and under, with tickets available in advance here.