In Northwest Arkansas, we’re an arty bunch, and May is our month to show it off! Two major arts festivals that span the region and the May calendar are happening now, and you don’t want to miss them!
The Eureka Springs May Festival of the Arts and Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts and Nature Festival both produce a feast of arts talent, variety and experiences. Underway now, they bring artists and communities together in a variety of settings – from art galleries and historic downtowns to a botanical garden, a renowned art museum and bike trails that crisscross the region.
This year, these festivals are bigger and better than ever! They’re a great way for you and your family to experience arts and culture in NWA today.
MAY FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS IN EUREKA SPRINGS
Through May 31
The 30th Annual May Festival of the Arts is packed with arts and entertainment, including gallery walks, art bazaars, musical performances, culinary experiences, demonstrations, interactive exhibits and more. Featured events include an ArtRageous Parade downtown on May 6 and the White Street Studio Walk on May 19 – where artists invite the public into their home studios.
Nestled in the Ozarks Mountains, Eureka Springs is a colorful arts hamlet with more art galleries per capita than any other city in the country! The May festival lets you tap into the creative vibe running through the historic village, driven by more than 350 working artists in all mediums.
Here are some of the festival’s highlights:
ARTRAGEOUS PARADE, Downtown, May 6
Quirky, energetic and sometimes surprising, the ArtRageous Parade is the traditional kick-off of the May Festival of the Arts. Join the stream of colorful floats, art cars, walkers, dancers, musicians, jugglers, drummers and dancers.
DANCE OF DECEIT, The Auditorium, May 7
Produced by local playwright Tom Gorsuch, featuring local actors and on-stage musicians and entirely “Eureka made,” this play is set in three rooms of a seedy motel, where a fun-loving retired couple eavesdrops on two younger couples. With wit and wisdom, they bear witness as lust and infidelity tango with ambition and greed in a dangerous dance of deceit.
BRIDGE OF LOVE: MOTHER’S DAY LIVING ART INSTALLATION, Main Street Air Bridge, May 8-14
If you love a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin or friend, bring fresh flowers to fasten to the Bridge of Love!
NUITS ROSE WINE FEST, May 12-14
The Nuits Rosé Eureka Springs Wine Fest is celebrated at participating restaurants and lounges offering Rosé tastings, flights and pairings to serve with special menu items.
GRAND GALLERY STROLL, Downtown, May 13
Eureka Springs has more than 30 art galleries that line the streets of the historic downtown, which is why the Grand Gallery Stroll is a must-do festival event. Several galleries will host special exhibits for the stroll. Fun is mandatory; purchasing is not!
ART IN THE PARK, Basin Spring Park, May 13
Come enjoy a day of artistry in every form at lovely Basin Spring Park in downtown Eureka Springs. Artists offering textiles, jewelry, painting, sculpting and fine wood designs will be available all day to discuss their process and medium.
WHITE STREET WALK, May 19
The 27th Annual White Street Studio Walk is held along historic White Street, which is the working address of several local artists who will welcome the public into their homes and studios to view their latest works.
BOOKS IN BLOOM LITERARY FESTIVAL, 1886 Crescent Hotel, May 21
The 12th Annual Books in Bloom Literary Festival is a celebration for writers and readers alike. Visiting authors include Craig Johnson, Laurie R. King, S.C. Gwynne, Nathalia Holt, and “Pete the Cat” creators, James and Kimberly Dean.
PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL, May 21-25
Plein Air artists and collectors won’t want to miss this multi-day exhibition with pre- and post-festival workshops by Spencer Meagher and Marty Coulter, and an opening reception at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.
For more information and tickets, visit eurekaspringsfestivalofthearts.com.
8TH ANNUAL ARTOSPHERE: ARKANSAS’ ARTS + NATURE FESTIVAL
Through May 20
The 2017 Artosphere Festival presented by Walton Arts Center brings together artists from around the world with dozens of free and low-cost events across the region. Artosphere’s signature event is Trail Mix Weekend, May 13-14, where musicians and artists perform along local trails and the Razorback Regional Greenway, while the musical cornerstone of the festival is the esteemed Artosphere Festival Orchestra.
TRAIL MIX: RAZORBACK REGIONAL GREENWAY, May 13 | Free
Join us for a festive day of fresh air and free entertainment with artists and musicians along the Razorback Regional Greenway, beginning in Fayetteville and ending in Bentonville. Entertainment includes The Bike Zoo Giant Butterflies, Squonk Opera, Claire Lynch and The Séamus Egan Project, and local entertainers Rozenbridge, The Crumbs, Melody Pond and The Sons of Otis Malone. Saturday’s Trail Mix also coincides with the annual Square 2 Square Bike Ride along the greenway. (Fee and registration required for Square 2 Square. Register at visitbentonville.com/bike.)
TRAIL MIX: WALKER PARK, FAYETTEVILLE, May 14 | Free
On Sunday, Trail Mix artists will be featured along the trails of Walker Park in Fayetteville starting at 5 p.m. Then, beginning at 7, get ready for the outdoor spectacle of Squonk Opera’s Cycle Sonic. These giant, animated human-powered stages that sprout bulb-horns, banners and whirligigs, will joyfully circle the audience, propelled by their own original chamber rock music.
ARTOSPHERE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
Three Main Performances
Performing under the baton of acclaimed Music Director Corrado Rovaris, AFO is comprised of more than 90 musicians from prestigious ensembles, orchestras and music programs from around the world.
LIVE FROM CRYSTAL BRIDGES: MOZART IN THE MUSEUM, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Great Hall, May 12
From the Great Hall of the world-class Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, AFO performs an exceptional all-Mozart program showcasing the musical talents the orchestra’s principal clarinet, bassoon, horn and oboe players as featured soloists. This performance is sold out but will be broadcast live on KUAF 91.3 FM Public Radio.
MENDELSSOHN IN SCOTLAND, Walton Arts Center, Baum Walker Hall, May 17 | Tickets: $10
This opening AFO performance at Walton Arts Center will showcase Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Symphony No. 3 “Scottish,” and Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a theme by Haydn.
ARTOSPHERE FESTIVAL FINALE, Walton Arts Center, Baum Walker Hall, May 20 | Tickets: $10
This AFO finale concert will present Luciano Berio’s Quattro versioni originali della “Ritirata notturna di Madrid,” Antonin Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, and Avner Dorman’s Frozen in Time featuring guest solo percussionist Mika Godbole.
CHAPEL MUSIC SERIES, May 9, 11, 13 & 16 | Tickets: $10-$25
Listen to exquisite music played in local churches and architectural marvels like St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the E. Fay Jones-designed Mildred B. Cooper Chapel, and the Chapel Ruins at Sassafras Springs Vineyard. This year’s Chapel Music Series features the acclaimed Dover Quartet, bluegrass artist Claire Lynch and The Séamus Egan Project. See Artosphere App or artospherefestival.org for times and details.
OTHER EVENTS AT WALTON ARTS CENTER:
COMPAGNIA TPO’s THE PAINTED GARDEN, May 6 | Tickets: $10
Dancers, performers and the audience itself interact with four virtual landscapes each inspired by the colors of the Kurdish landscape.
MOMIX OPUS CACTUS, May 7 | Tickets: $15-$45
Inspired by the flora and fauna of the American Southwest, dancer-illusionists conjure up a world of surrealistic images in this multi-media experience that brings the magic of the Sonoran Desert to life.
THE WAY BACK HOME, May 14 | Tickets: $10
When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: he flies into outer space and executes a daring landing on the moon!
THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES, May 19 & 20 | Tickets: $10
This theatrical adaptation of Jean Giono’s environmental classic tells the inspiring story of a shepherd who plants a forest, acorn by acorn.
MORE FREE EVENTS:
INUKSUIT, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, May 19
Inspired by the Stonehenge-like structures in the Arctic that the Inuit people used as markers to navigate their space, this expansive community performance is written for 9 to 99 musicians – featuring Grammy Award®-winning ensemble Third Coast Percussion.
AFO: OFF THE GRID, Downtown/Dickson Entertainment District, Fayetteville, May 18
Settle in or move around your favorite local pubs and other gathering places around Fayetteville’s downtown/Dickson entertainment district as Artosphere Festival Orchestra ensembles perform casual “pop-up concerts” for your listening pleasure. Download the Artosphere App for a list of locations.
For details on all Artosphere events, including a complete festival lineup, download the Artosphere App from Google Play or the Apple App Store, visit artospherefestival.org or call the Walton Arts Center box office at (479) 443-5600.