Hot Springs’ Second Annual Festival of the Arts blooms April 29 through May 8.
Photography courtesy of the venues
Above photo: Riley Art Glass Studio located in Hot Springs.
[dropcap]Hot[/dropcap] Springs celebrates the second annual Arts & The Park festival from April 29 through May 8 with an array of event choices for art lovers, day-trippers and nature-seekers alike. The philanthropic Hot Springs Area Cultural Alliance founded the festival to highlight the Spa City’s history as an artists’ retreat amid inspiring natural surroundings.
Local and regional artists will be on-hand for a variety of workshops, performances, studio tours, live music and poetry. Detailed information as well as maps can be found on the website hotspringsarts.org.
A gala hosted by Mid-America Science Museum will kick off festivities at 8 p.m. April 29. The festival branches out for two days of studio tours, April 30 and May 1. For a magical mystery stop along the tour, check out “Rocky Roost,” an iconic 1940s stone home surrounded by fairytale gardens and featuring Hot Springs’ first “tiny house” designed by local artist Julie Williams.
Artists’ studios open to visitors include venerable names such as Fox Pass Pottery, Riley Art Glass and master woodworker Gene Sparling, among many others. The festival also occurs during one of the only times of the year that guests are invited to peek inside Whittington Valley’s quartz-encrusted “Crystal Cave.” This remnant of pure Hot Springs Americana is located on Whittington Avenue near two other cherished locales: Dryden Pottery; and Tiny Town, the World’s Largest Animated Village.
Most of the scheduled events for Arts & the Park are free of charge, notably guest artist Thomas Greene’s reception/lecture at Justus Fine Art Gallery as well as a slew of literary events. Nourish your spirit at the nation’s longest-running poetry venue (27 years) hosted by author Bud Kenny at 6 p.m. May 4, at Kollective Coffee+Tea downtown, followed by a slam competition Friday night at the Quapaw Bathhouse. Saturday’s “Lattes & Lit” at Kollective Coffee+Tea features Arkansas author Nancy Hendricks; it is also free to the public.
Throughout the week, free musical performances include blues on May 4 and jazz at The Ohio Club on May 5, while a free “Plein Air Paint-Out” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 5 aims to fill downtown Hot Springs with up-and-coming Picassos- and Renoirs-in-the-making.
Hot Springs is also home to the longest-running Gallery Walk in the nation, and beginning at 5 p.m. May 6, the historic downtown blossoms in honor of Arts & the Park. Be sure to stop in Alison Parsons Gallery in the heart of Central Avenue’s Arts District and congratulate Arkansas author Stephanie Storey, who will be in town to celebrate the publication of her new book Oil and Marble.
While strolling downtown’s tree-lined avenue on May 7, be on the lookout for poets. “The Poet is In,” a walk-up poetry booth stationed outside the Fine Arts Center Gallery, invites visitors to “Drop by for a line; stay for a verse.” Saturday morning through Sunday evening, the nearby Hill-Wheatley Plaza is the setting for “Art Springs,” a two-day, free festival-within-a-festival featuring booths, demonstrations, children’s activities and live performances.
Just look for the beautiful fountain in the center of Historic Downtown Hot Springs to find the epicenter of this wonderful week of art, nature and FUN.