Fill your senses with the sights, sounds and tastes of Oklahoma's most popular arts festivals.
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From the Art Deco architecture throughout Tulsa to sculpture and art displays scattered throughout Oklahoma City, Oklahomans have a deep-rooted appreciation for the arts. Therefore, it’s no wonder that tons of statewide events are held each year to celebrate the visual, performing and culinary arts. Embrace your inner Degas and adjust your beret: these artistic celebrations invite you to make the leap into an imaginative wonderland filled with fine art, live music and gourmet delights. Read on to discover some of Oklahoma’s best bets, and step into a veritable feast for the senses at one of Oklahoma’s top arts festivals.
Known as Oklahoma City’s “rite of spring,” the much-loved Festival of the Arts is the crown jewel of Oklahoma’s wide and varied arts festivals. Held since 1967, the Festival of the Arts is free to the public and celebrates all artistic endeavors, from photography and sculpture to local music and mouthwatering food, with six action-packed days in late April. Live music and theatrical productions are held on four stages throughout the stunning Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Conservatory, while over 140 artists from across the nation display their works within rows and rows of outdoor booths.
Bring the kids to this family-friendly art event for plenty of hands-on children’s activities and a play area, and don’t forget to visit the festival’s famous International Food Row. Over 30 food vendors set up camp to provide everything from appetizers to desserts with a decidedly cosmopolitan twist. Munch on a Bavarian strudel or sample a plateful of Brazilian food. Less adventurous eaters can also enjoy traditional fair food like corndogs and Indian tacos.
Head to T-Town’s popular downtown area for a spectacular Mayfest during the height of springtime’s glory. One of the city's most loved events, it welcomes hundreds of local and regional artists to Tulsa and ushers in the excitement of family-friendly activities for all. The Tulsa International Mayfest, the headlining art event in Tulsa each year, has been celebrating artistic talent for over 40 colorful years.
The four-day Tulsa International Mayfest attracts over 350,000 people annually and boasts displays from artists worldwide. Artwork from over 120 artists, five indoor galleries and three stages of entertainment are brought out for the masses. Don’t miss the delicious food court stocked with fair food favorites such as funnel cakes, gyros and fresh lemonade.
Oklahoma City’s colorful and historic Paseo Arts District is a work of art unto itself, but the district takes on new life during the annual, two-day Paseo Arts Festival held in May. As Oklahoma City’s oldest district, the Paseo is reminiscent of a Spanish village complete with stucco buildings, clay tile roofs and vivid colors. It is home to nearly 20 art galleries and 60 artists all within a couple of blocks walking distance.
More than 75 visual artists come together each May to display their juried works of art at the Paseo Arts Festival. With a variety of mediums and price ranges, enthusiastic collectors and art novices alike will find the perfect piece. Two stages also provide live music and performance art, while children can create their own works of art in the children’s area. During this free event, area restaurants and galleries will be open throughout the festival, urging visitors to pop in and out of these charming local businesses as they make their way along the main thoroughfare.
For booths brimming with handmade goods and artistic pieces, delicious food, fun activities and toe-tapping entertainment, head to downtown Edmond during the Downtown Edmond Arts Festival, held each year in May. This free, three-day event brings together over 100 artists displaying and selling their work, as well as performance artists and live music. Located on historic Route 66, historic downtown Edmond boasts a variety of unique boutiques, antique stores and trendy restaurants. Try out one of the area’s cafes or snack on traditional fair food like corndogs and cotton candy. Browse the booths to find out which artists took home the festival’s top prizes, or find a shady spot near the stage and enjoy the sounds of jazz, blues and country music.
Lawton’s Arts for All Festival is southwest Oklahoma’s largest free juried art show. Stop by for over 90 artists and two stages packed with live entertainment. Be sure to browse through the large variety of creative expression found at artist booths, featuring photography, poetry, sculpture and painting. After catching performances by dance troupes and youth programs, refuel with fair food favorites in the food court, from funnel cake and turkey legs to gyros and Italian roast beef sandwiches. At this annual arts festival in southwestern Oklahoma, relax in the garden while listening to smooth jazz, grab a snack from an international food vendor or browse the art spaces for a variety of unique gifts.
Held each summer since 1969, the Nescatunga Arts & Crafts Festival highlights the works of top regional artists. Visit this annual Alva art festival, and view ornate artwork decorating the Historic Downtown Square. Check out artist booths offering a variety of mediums, from weaving and jewelry to photography and sculptures, before visiting the food vendors for delicious grub. As one of the longest-running arts festivals in the state, this Oklahoma art show features more than 150 artists each year. Be sure to enjoy the sunshine while browsing the vast selection of designs and gifts. Stay until the end to see judges hand out awards to the top three artists per category.
Gather in downtown Sulphur's Artesian Plaza during the annual Artesian Arts Festival. At this southeastern art tradition, celebrate Native American arts by visiting one-of-a-kind artist booths representing 19 different tribes. Guests are sure to discover must-have artwork like beautiful beadery, whimsical woodwork, stunning sculpture, pleasant pottery and more. Guests are sure to enjoy the live musical performances and tribal dance demonstrations, as well as Native American cuisine. All ages are welcome at this local art show, featuring children's activities.
A unique combination of performance and visual art, several chalk art festivals across the state pit participants in a race against the clock. Come by the Montmartre Chalk Art Festival in Chickasha to see artists create works of art using only chalk. At the Walkin' on Chalk Arts Festival in Altus, each participant is given a 6’ x 6’ section of pavement and roughly six hours to create their piece. Stop by the Roses, Chalk & Kites, Oh My! festival in Broken Arrow to see mind-blowing images, enjoy live music and browse a variety of displays.
Native American artists showcase stunning, handcrafted artwork at Oklahoma art shows. Experience diverse artwork created by members of 47 Native American tribes at the Cherokee Art Market in Catoosa, and enjoy cultural demonstrations like storytelling and flint knapping. Stock up on authentic Native American artwork offered at the Trail of Tears Art Show in Tahlequah, a multi-tribal arts show open to artists from all federally recognized Native American tribes. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the Native American Arts & Crafts Market & Indian Taco Sale in Oklahoma City feeds hungry visitors traditional Tanchi Labona hominy and pork soup, as well as grape dumplings, best enjoyed after viewing all the eye-catching artwork.
Feeling inspired to support local artists? View the full list of upcoming art shows in Oklahoma, and prepare to witness breathtaking jewelry, woodwork, paintings, sculptures and more.