The 2nd annual Thea Arts Festival comes to downtown North Little Rock on Saturday, filling three blocks of Main Street with art, music and dance from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Forty-eight Arkansas artists will participate (11 of them demonstrating technique), and 12 musical groups — from country singers to harpists — will perform throughout the day. For kids there will be an instrument petting zoo, pottery and other arts activities. Members of the Arkansas Festival Ballet and Ballet Arkansas will be dancing in the streets.
The free event raises funds for the Thea Foundation's work to support arts in education thanks to sponsors John and Robyn Horn, Art Outfitters, Sue Gaskin, John and Angelica Rogers, the Tenenbaum Foundation, Insalaco-Tenenebaum Enterprises, the city of North Little Rock and 34 other individuals and businesses. The Thea Foundation's gallery and headquarters are at 401 Main St.
The lineup impresses with some of Arkansas's best-known visual artists: Matt McLeod, who was selected to create the festival painting, on view at the Thea Foundation; basketmaker Leon Niehues; printmakers Win Bruhl and Delita Martin; glass artist Ed Pennebaker; beadmakers Tom and Sage Holland; woodworkers Mia Hall, Michael Warwick, Douglas Stowe, John Sewell, Mollie Munro, Tod Swiecichowksi and Sandra L. Sell; painters Stephano Sutherlin, Ken Davis, Emily Wood, Jennifer Wilson, Steve Horan, Justin Bryant and Katerie Joe; potters Barbara Satterfield, Beth Lambert, Fletcher Larkin, Hannah May, Logan Hunter, Janet Donnangelo, Zach Graupner, Ian Park, Oksana Litvihnova, Ryan Sniegocki and Stephen Driver; sculptors Joe Barnett and Bryan Massey; fashion designer Lilia Hernandez; jewelry maker Kandy Jones; and metalworkers Linda Holloway, Deitra Blackwell and Allison Short. Artist demonstrators include Barbara Lasley, Debbie Strobel and Mary Nancy Henry (pastels), Rachel Trusty (textile art), David Paul Cook (watercolor landscapes), Christy Frank (mixed media), Kevin Kresse (sculpture), Jason Smith (oil portraiture), John Deering (caricatures), Delita Martin (printmaking) and Larry Pennington and UALR potters (ceramics).
Musical performances start at 10 a.m.; artists include Aaron Bard, Daniel Haney, Mister Morphis, Handmade Moments, The Pickoids, Steve Bates, Fire and Brimstone, Mandy McBryde, Alisa Coffey, the Rockefeller Quartet, Celina Bree and Serious Young Musicians.
Sandwiches, chicken wings and fish 'n' chips will be served streetside by Starving Artists Cafe, Reno's Argenta Cafe, Cregeen's Irish Pub and Argenta Market.
The full schedule of events can be found at theaartsfestival.org.
Artosphere 2013 has kicked off in Fayetteville with the construction of an installation piece at Lake Fayetteville, "Spiral Wetlands," by Stacy Levy. Levy and Celeste Roberge, the creator of "Gabion Chaise," the pebble-filled steel bench at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, will give a talk about environmental art from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at the museum.
Artosphere continues into June with dozens of musical performances (including "An Evening of Beethoven" June 21); theater ("War Horse" is May 22-26); exhibitions (including Tasha Lewis' cyanotype-coated fabric art in "The Herd" and "Swarm"; solar-powered musical installations by Craig Colorusso; a pub crawl and summer solstice yoga. For more information, go to www.artospherefestival.org.
Eureka Springs is covered up in art events, too, come May 1, when the annual May Festival of the Arts opens. "The Sphere," a huge community sculpture overseen by Robert Norman, will be unveiled; galleries will have new exhibits weekly; the annual White Street Studio Walk that includes 14 destinations is set for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. May 17; there will be interactive musical sculptures designed by Ranaga Farbiarz in the Eureka Springs Music Park, and Trout Fishing in America will perform at The Auditorium.