Whether you’re an art newbie looking to launch a collection or you’re already an avid collector, Richardson’s Cottonwood Art Festival, May 7-8, is a can’t-miss event. The two-day semiannual show (the second event is the first full weekend in October) is free to the public and showcases artists from around the world. It also happens to be held in a scenic park setting and offers a stellar lineup of live entertainment.
Here are the top five reasons you should be adding it to your must-attend list:
1. The art is curated and selected by a jury, making it top-notch (i.e., not just anyone can show up and sell handicrafts). This year, 240 artists were selected from the 720 who submitted work for consideration in 14 categories, including 3D mixed media, ceramics, jewelry, leather, painting, photography, and sculpture.
2. The location is superb. Cottonwood Park is a scenic space dotted with a quaint little lake, complete with ducks (always a win with the kiddos). In general, the festival itself isn’t overcrowded, so you can actually see the art and navigate your way around without feeling like a fish swimming upstream.
3. New as of last year is a special craft beer garden, which features 13 beers on tap from some of the most popular local breweries in the area. (Word to the wise: Do your shopping before you imbibe.)
4. It’s family-friendly (remember the ducks?), and it offers an interactive kids’ area called ArtStop, where the little ones can draw, paint, sculpt, and do pretty much anything else creative all in the name of art. Dozens of activities are available, from chiseling plaster and playing with a potter’s wheel to painting a pint-size masterpiece. It’s the perfect way to find out if you have a budding Picasso on your hands.
5. After you’ve had your fill of art, you can stop by the lakeside courtyard and catch some stellar live entertainment. Blues, jazz, country, rock, swing — you name it, and, most likely, there will be a band performing it. This year’s lineup includes the Gypsy Playboys, Texas Flood, Marc Toussaint, and Riders Ford, among others.