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Visit an Outdoor Art Festival

This is going to be a relatively short post for me this week. Due to some technical difficulties, the other posts I have been working on haven’t been saving correctly and not posting in full.  So, I want to shift my focus real quick.


Ok, so that might come off as a bit harsh, but Art is obviously something I am passionate about and Art Festivals are a great way to experience Art in a non-traditional setting (like a Museum or Gallery……remember when I posted about going to one of those?).

Art Festivals are typically outdoor events that bring in thousands of people to a small area.  Artists set up booths to display and sell their artwork, there are food vendors all over, and some events even have live bands or other forms of entertainment.  Overall, an Art Festival is basically one giant Art Party.

The best part of an Art Festival, though, is the ability to interact with the artists to talk to them about their work, why they do what they do, and even talk about specific techniques they like to use for their work.  Some artists will be more open to sharing than others, but then again, some people in general are just nicer than others.

I have had the privilege of attending several Art Festivals in the Midwest (I have lived here all of my life) from Omaha, NE, Madison, WI, Des Moines, IA, and Kansas City, MO.  (All of these major festivals have been ranked as top 10 festivals in America at some point along the way).  The interactions at these festivals have changed my outlook on what an Artist does.  I no longer thing that to be a successful Artist that I have to have super large paintings displayed at major Art Galleries.  I now see many successful Artists setting up at these festivals and interacting with the public and sharing their experiences.  If become a more authentic experience that I can remember whenever I look at the pieces I have picked up along the way.  It adds to the story of the piece, which then becomes more than just another picture on the wall.

This weekend, I will be heading to the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO for the 86th annual Plaza Art Fair.  I already know of a few Artists that I want to go specifically see and talk to but I am excited for the new artists I will discover.  This show alone has 240 Artists and is expecting crowds of over 250,000 people over the three days.  I am even more excited that I will be taking my son to experience this event.  He gets really excited about Art and I want him to be exposed to all sorts of Art and get to meet some actual Artists (besides the ones he already knows….).

Through festivals, I have been able to connect with Artists such as Ben Schuh and Chris Vance (Links to their work below).  Meeting these two not only made for a memorable experience, I have used both of their work as examples in my classroom for various projects and concepts.  I have even looked towards their work and their process to experiment with new ways to do my own work.  These two have unknowingly inspired not only me but many of my students over the past few years.

Go out, find a local Art Festival and dive in to the experience.  It will be good for you.  And even if you are not the type of person that wants to create Art, go to a festival anyway and enjoy the experience.




Plaza Art Fair:

Ben Schuh:

Chris Vance: