The fall edition of the highly anticipated Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson is happening October 1-2, and there’s no better way to light up that right hemisphere of your brain.
Held the first weekend of every October (and also the first weekend of every May!), it’s one of the coolest fests on the block, boasting art of every possible kind, local music, and food and drink — all packaged in a fun, family-friendly, and free setting.
The festival originally launched in 1969, so this extravaganza is well-versed in the art of having fun.
Here are five reasons to love what’s happening this autumn at scenic Cottonwood Park.
1. A creative wonderland of juried art
Whether you’re particularly artsy or not, you’ll find something to love amid the head-spinning list of one-of-a-kind, limited-edition works on display. These include paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, and photography. It all comes straight from 200 of the best local, national, and international artists that were selected out of more than 1,400 submissions.
Find art of all kinds.Photo courtesy of Cottonwood Art Festival
2. Original pieces from a ‘whimsical’ featured artist
Florida native and the festival’s Featured Artist Michelle McDowell Smith is jetting in with her current body of work in tow: “Of Land and Sky, Whimsical and Free.” It celebrates the themes of family, trust, love, and the unique individuality found within us and others. As the Featured Artist, Smith’s custom artwork is also included in festival posters and merch.
3. Must-hear Main Stage moments
Art of another kind will be taking over the Imagery Courtyard Main Stage, where some of North Texas’ top musicians will perform. The live-music soundtrack includes the bluesy-jazz sounds of Ryan Berg & the Velvet Ears, Michael Lee, the country-forward Big Joe Walker, and the Motown beats of Legacy 4. A second Acoustic Stage will feature music by Myah Mayhew, Ireland, and more.
4. Camp out in the courtyard
There’s an epic lineup of sips from Imagery Wine Collection in the courtyard, and you’ll also be able to cheers with more drinks like local craft beer, margs, and prosecco. To go with those sips, choose from any number of fun foods like Tex-Mex faves, churros, crepes, kettle corn, biscuits, gyros and kebabs, caramel apples, and more.
5. Make a pit stop at ArtStop
The kiddos can learn to weave, paint like Picasso, play with clay, craft African bead bracelets, and even make a 3-D pumpkin patch — it is PSL season, after all — in this arts-and-crafts zone.
There’s even more to love, because the Cottonwood Art Festival also encourages Richardson students to learn about art and foster their creativity through two community outreach programs.
The Emerging Artist Program recognizes senior high-school art students by selling their work alongside Cottonwood’s attending professional artists and displaying selected pieces at the Eisemann Center.
The Visiting Artist Program increases participation in visual arts in Richardson ISD classrooms, with Cottonwood artists providing hands-on art activities and sharing their experiences with students.
Mark your calendar for October 1-2 at Cottonwood Park, and head over to the Cottonwood Art Festival website for more info.