With the Houston skyline as a backdrop, the 13th annual Bayou City Art Festival Downtown took place Oct. 10-11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., along the streets of Bagby, Walker and McKinney.
The outdoor art gallery is a family-friendly atmosphere that Art Colony Association, Inc. produces every year. The festival showcased more than 300 artists in 19 different media formats including photography, painting, furniture, glass and textiles.
“Bayou City Art Festival Downtown has earned national and international recognition,” said Susan Farb Morris, of Susan Farb Public Relations. “This year, the festival was ranked the number three art festival in the U.S. by AmericanStyle Magazine readers and ranked number 10 in the country by Sunshine Artist magazine. In addition, the festival has garnered gold, silver and bronze Pinnacle awards from the International Festivals & Events Association as well as top awards from the statewide Texas Festivals & Events Association. This festival broke all records for artists’ applications with 850 artists from around the U.S. and Canada vying for 300 spots in the juried festival.”
The artists who showcase their work were chosen in a juried fine process. Out of the 300 artists chosen, 25 were from the Houston area. Many also came from out of state this year.
Local artist Amanda Jeffrey participated in the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown for the second time and was located at booth 211 this year. She is a textile designer and focuses her craft in hand-woven, hand-dyed fabrics including scarves and other fashion accessories. Jeffrey is originally from Colombia but has resided in Friendswood since 1990.
“I apply to different shows around the country, but I love the Bayou City Art Festival,” Jeffrey said. “It is one of the best festivals I have participated in.”
Every year, an artist who displays unique and strong creative skills is selected by the panel of judges to be the featured artist; this year Kimber Fiebiger was selected. Fiebiger is a bronze sculptor from Minneapolis. She previously won first place at last year’s Bayou City Art Festival Downtown.
“I am so floored with being chosen as the featured artist,” Fiebiger said. “This is like, the high point of my career; I’m not used to it. I do bronze sculpting because I like to work really hard and with bronze, you couldn’t find a harder art medium; it’s challenging and fun.”
At this year’s festival, Fiebiger’s showcase featured her bronze-sculpted Humpty Dumptys and sculpted jesters. The Humpty Dumptys ranged in many different sizes and expressions.
“Big Guy” Humpty Dumpty, by featured artist Kimber Fiebiger.
“My inspiration for the humptys comes from my love of caricature; they’re silly,” Fiebiger said.
Fiebiger attends 10-15 shows and exhibitions throughout the year, but the Bayou City Art Festival Dowtown remains to stand as one of her favorites.
“Bayou City Art Festival is one of the best,” Fiebiger said. “It is in the top 10 in the nation, but it is my best. I am well-received here.”
The festival encourages patrons to become involved in the experience and with this, events such as The Art Heist were available. The Art Heist was set up as a crime scene art grab presented by Art Colony Association, Inc. and Texas Monthly. This event took place Oct. 10 from 6 to 10 p.m. and tickets, priced at $35, had to be purchased separately from the main festival event.
“The Art Heist was limited to 200 tickets so that each person in attendance had a one-in-four chance of going home with a piece of art work,” Farb said. “Each person at The Art Heist was considered a ‘suspect.’ Fifty Bayou City Art Festival Downtown artists donated works for The Art Heist’s Art Grab.”
A creative zone, sponsored by Capital One Bank, was also available, free of charge, for children to explore their own creativity in art making. In the creative zone, local Non-Profit Partners sponsored separate art activities, and for every activity Art Colony Association, Inc. made a donation to each sponsor. Some of the sponsors and corresponding activities included the following: Art League of Houston, ECO-Wear, turning recycled materials into jewelry; Heritage Society, corn husk dolls; and MOCAH, mosaic frames.
Many other sponsors participated in the festival such as City of Houston and Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Budweiser, Houstonian Lite Health Club, Cadillac and KTRK-TV.
Vendors were also in attendance with samplings of free food and beverages. Cooking demonstrations were provided by Max’s Wine Dive, Arista, Le Mistral, Chez Roux, Essence and YO! Sushi. Other vendors, such as Sweet Leaf Tea, provided samplings of beverages.
“Sweet Leaf Tea is a Texas brand and we enjoy participating in local events that support our communities,” said Amanda Straudt, field marketing manager for Sweet Leaf Tea. “Our brand appeals to people who are passionate about organic living and quality, healthy ingredients and we find many of these people are also passionate about arts and local culture. Bayou City Art Festival allows us to meet those people, give them a sample and tell them the Sweet Leaf story.”
Additionally, dance performances and multi-cultural musical entertainment from groups such as MECA mariachi were available for all patrons to enjoy.