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ARTesian Arts Festival In Sulphur To Highlight Native Artists, Art

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A community celebration of all forms of art, the ARTesian Arts Festival highlights Native artists and art. A community celebration of all forms of art, the ARTesian Arts Festival highlights Native artists and art.
SULPHUR, Oklahoma -

The Chickasaw Nation is hosting the annual ARTesian Arts Festival, Saturday, May 23, Memorial Day weekend, at the Artesian Plaza in Sulphur.

A community celebration of all forms of art, the ARTesian Arts Festival highlights Native artists and art. Event organizers said activities for all ages are planned, including a special area for children's activities and a senior citizens' arts and crafts booth.

The festival will highlight diverse art media and a variety of visual art will be on display at dozens of artist booths such as paintings, basketry, jewelry, sculpture, metalworking, bead work, textiles and pottery. Artists will also be demonstrating, sharing and discussing their craft in the ARTesian Art Gallery.

The ARTesian Arts Festival is open to artists from all federally-recognized tribes. Artists will compete for cash prizes in numerous categories.

Cash awards will be presented for first, second and third place in each category. First place winners will receive $1,000 each, while the “Best of Show” winner will receive $2,000.

Sixteen bands will provide continuous entertainment on two stages, according to event organizers. 

More than 55 artists renowned nationally and in Indian Country are preparing for the festival. They include Sulphur-native Joanna Underwood, a potter whose work is recognized as among the finest. She also is responsible for works of art displayed in a park called “Oka Chokmasi,” Chickasaw for “beautiful water.” It is located southwest of the Artesian Hotel. Festival-goers may rest and enjoy her works which incorporate soothing sounds of water.

Margaret Roach Wheeler, whose textile art and historically accurate Native American fashions have been featured in national magazines and other media, will be on hand.

Also scheduled to participate is Mike Larsen, whose painting of an Oklahoma sunrise inspired a U.S. Postage stamp and whose portraits and stories of 48 Chickasaw elders fill the pages of two books. Larsen also created “The Arrival” sculpture, which depicts a Chickasaw family arriving in Indian Territory during the 1830s removal from their homelands. “The Arrival” is a permanent fixture at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur.

A variety of food vendors are scheduled to be on site to serve festival guests.

The ARTesian Arts Festival is free and open to everyone. More than 4,500 art enthusiasts gathered for last year's inaugural ARTesian Arts Festival.

For more information about the ARTesian Arts Festival, contact the Chickasaw Nation Division of Arts & Humanities at (580)-272-5520, by email at artistinfo@chickasaw.net, or visit chickasawcountry.com/artesian-arts-festival. Follow #ARTesianFest on Chickasaw Country's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information.

The Artesian Plaza is located adjacent to the Artesian Hotel and Spa, 1001 W. First Street.

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