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Plaza District Festival features art, music on Saturday

Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report
The 19th annual Plaza District Festival, set for 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Plaza District.
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OKLAHOMA CITY- Art, music, food and hyper-local attractions take the center (and two other) stage at the 19th annual Plaza District Festival, set for 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Plaza District, and this year, patrons can witness the debut of the crowd-funded public art piece chosen to represent the neighborhood.

The Festival, which celebrates all things local, includes 32 Oklahoma-based artist vendors, three music stages, 10 food trucks, all-day live mural painting and a dedicated Children’s area. Two new music stages include the Venue Stage and the Tree & Leaf Stage, which will be dedicated to Oklahoma’s burgeoning hip-hop scene.

“One stage is exclusively hip-hop, which is really blossoming in Oklahoma City, so we are happy to be able to cater to that scene,” said Cayla Lewis, executive director of the Plaza District. “Even our main stage and our Venue stage will have a variety of acts, including Everything Goes Dance studio and Lyric Theatre, which are here in the Plaza District.”

In addition to the food trucks, musical and performance acts and the children’s area, the Plaza District Festival will unveil the winner of the crowd-funded public art piece to debut at Festival. Returning for its second year, the Plaza Fest Art Lounge, open to all over the age of 21, is a curated adult space that sells a variety of wines that include Rosé, Malbec, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Champagne, along with at least three high-point beers.

The Art Lounge will feature a sculpture art show curated by Stephen Kovash and mood designed by Scout Studios’ Carissa Stevens, with items from Calvert’s Plant Interiors Inc. and Interior Gilt. The sculpture show includes works from Dan Garrett, Claudia Carroll-Phelps, Kenny McCage, Don Narcomey, DutchDaDutchess, Kody Haskins and the UCO Sculpture Class, among others.

“As part of our Art Lounge, we will have all 3-D outdoor works to complement the art on the street,” Lewis said. “We’ll also announce our public art Sponsored by YOU campaign winner for a new, commissioned public art sculpture in the Plaza District. We’re hoping to raise $5,000 through micro-donations, and we’re very close. This will be an actual physical public art structure. We as an association would like to bring more long-term artistic ventures.”

By accepting individual online micro-donations, the Plaza District Association will recognize the community, name by name, as official sponsors of this annual event at the Plaza District Festival. Last year, $4,000 was raised to support The Oklahoma Mural Syndicate, a curated, rotating mural project that included 20 murals covering 5200 square feet of outdoor wall space. In 2015, $2,000 worth of micro-donations were made for much-needed Festival supplies like extension cords and tents.

The 2017 artist selection has both new and returning Oklahoma-only artists and includes a variety of media including paintings, photography, woodwork, paper silhouettes, stained glass, sculpture, pottery, soap, jewelry, solar lights, metalwork, clothes, purses and designer dog treats.

The Festival’s Main Stage, located on the 1700 block of NW 16th, opens at 11 a.m. with OCUpella, and closes with Sports at 9 p.m.

The two new stages this year are the Venue Stage, within The Venue at 1757 NW 16th, and the Tree & Leaf Stage, located in the backyard of the retail store of the same name at 1705B NW 16th.

The children’s area will host activities between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. with art projects from the Norman Firehouse Art Center, make and take potted Calvert’s plants, a Mini-Plaza Walls mural, the Oklahoma City Zoo Experience, Children’s Zumba and more.

All art within the Plaza Kid’s Art Boutique is priced between $5 and $2 dollars and accessible to children 12 years and younger. Festival volunteers are on site to help each child select a piece for their personal art collection and all proceeds benefit children’s programming of future Plaza District Festivals.

In addition, the second annual Plaza Walls Mural Expo will take place during the Plaza District Festival from noon to 7 p.m. and is a project of The Oklahoma Mural Syndicate, a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate and curate public art in Oklahoma.

The 22 spray-paint artists will begin painting the week of September 25 and will reveal 5,200 square feet of brand new murals on Saturday at the Plaza Walls alley, with entrances on 16th Street and Indiana Avenue.

The 2017 Mural Expo artists are: Jake Beeson, Dylan Bradway, Dustin Caballero, Brady Creative, Wane COD, Ashley Dawn, Rhiana Deck, Denise Duong, Yatika Fields, Chris Foxworth, Tanner Frady, Kris Kanaly, Holey Kids, Jason Pawley, Yeehaw Pizza, Sloke One, Codak Smith, Cassie Stover, Sarah Sully, Tony Thunder, Sean Vali  and Aaron Whisner.

 The Mural Expo will also feature the painting of two large-scale murals. The Saints wall will debut a mural by artist Wane COD. Wane is a graffiti writer and artist from New York City. Across the street, Chris Foxworth will debut his mural on the Everything Goes Dance Wall. Foxworth is a graphic designer and artist living in Kansas City. Both murals will run through January 2018.

The annual Plaza District Festival is the Plaza District Association’s largest annual fundraiser and is free to the public. For more information, visit

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Heide Brandes

Heide Brandes is an award-winning journalist and editor with more than 18 years of experience....

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