The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and is offering something new – an extra day to peruse works by 200 artists from across the nation.
There will now be three days of art exhibits, performances and creative activities for kids.
The event is slated for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 12
The Woodlands Waterway and Town Green Park in the Town Center will be transformed into a giant outdoor gallery for the occasion
Director Jenny Carattini-Wright said that adding an extra day was a way to commemorate the past decade of showcasing fine and performing art. The idea has been in the works for a while, she added.
“We started surveying artists and patrons about two years ago,” she said. “With the high numbers on Saturdays, it was hard for patrons to see the art and talk to the artists. We wanted to attend to their needs.”
Carattini-Wright said that having an extra day means more time for art-inspired fun.
“It’s another day of shopping, it’s another day to offer educational opportunities and it’s also an opportunity for artists to be in town another day,” she said.
Carattini-Wright said that the show has been ranked number one in the state and third in the nation by ArtFair Sourcebook based on the number of sales made. The festival’s outstanding reputation has drawn top-notch artists to the event.
The call for exhibitors goes out in August and participants may apply until October, Carattini-Wright explained. In November, jurors from north Harris and Montgomery counties spend two days evaluating applications.
All the work is judged anonymously based on photos of the artwork, the booth presentation and an artist statement.
This year, the 200 artists selected represent 33 states and two countries. Work was selected with consideration of medium.
“When it’s all said and done, we have a mixed percentage of different media,” Carattini-Wright said. “We really want a nice mix.”
Artists selected as “Best in Show” are invited to return for two years.
This year, there were 912 applicants for the show. “We had a record amount,” Carattini-Wright said. “And we always have a waiting list.”
When asked how they heard about the event, Carattini-Wright said most artists reply that it was word of mouth.
“For me that’s gold,” she said.
Carattini-Wright wants to facilitate artists selling work – and connecting with the community.
“In the end, it’s all about the connections that the artists make,” she said. “Not only are they selling art, but they’re making friends.”
The featured artist this year will be Sean Brown from Denver, Colo. He has has been exhibiting his one-of-a-kind jewelry and art pieces at fine galleries and juried art shows since 1989.
The festival will also feature more stages this year – four dedicated to the performing arts and one reserved for foodies.
The Palette Café Stage will showcase live music by Mingo Fishtrap, Seth Walker, Farra 8, the Terri Hendrix Band featuring Lloyd Maines, Kyle Hutton Band, Chubby Knuckle Choir and Beto y los Fairlaines.
“We bring in regional musicians from Austin, Dallas, Louisiana and Houston,” Carattini-Wright said. A variety of performances by local talent are also planned for the Arts in Montgomery County Stage.
“People will get a flavor of community on this stage,” Carattini-Wright said.
Angela Colton, executive director with The Woodlands Children’s Museum, is in charge of booking the Watercolor Terrace Stage, new to the festival this year.
She explained local and touring singer-songwriters will take center-stage at the venue, including Andrew Karnavas from Houston, Amy Adams from Atlanta and a group of neighborhood musicians and friends, the Bentwater City Limits.
“It’s a group of retired people who bought lake front property on Lake Conroe and want to just play music,” Colton said.
She said local high school orchestras will be featured on the stage, as well as the Houston Choral Showcase and the New Rising Stars Dancers.
Also new this year is the West End Stage, which will offer and a mix of performances from the other three stages.
The Art of Food Stage will offer a space for local chefs to show off their culinary skills. There will be cooking demonstrations throughout the festival and guests will have the opportunity to sample the creations.
Carattini-Wright said the festival also has several opportunities for creative expression for future artists.
At ARTopoly, The Woodlands Children’s Museum will lead young artists to create their own projects.
“We set up a big area where they can paint castles and oversized pirate ships,” Colton said. “We just set them up with paints and brushes, and they’ll just paint forever.”
She said that area nonprofits will also have booths in that section, including Texas Repertory Theatre, Prelude Music Classes for Children, Pearl Fincher Museum and the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation.
“It allows them to showcase what they do,” she said. “And all the nonprofits also provide a children’s activity. There’s really a lot going on in the area for youth, and this educates the public about what kind of art nonprofits are around.”
Carattini-Wright explained that the festival is produced annually by The Woodlands Waterway Arts Council, a nonprofit organization that provides regional cultural and educational enrichment opportunities that encourage, support and promote the visual and performing arts.
She said that about 15,000 guests attended the festival last year. “The artists did really well, and we drew a very diverse crowd,” she said. “We’re hoping to have even more people this year because of the third day.”
Want to go?
What: The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival
Where: The Woodlands Town Center
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 12.
Cost: The cost to attend is $12 per day or $15 for all three. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge.
For more information: visit www.woodlandsartsfestival.com.
Source: Houston Chronicle