Artists Say Busy Paseo Arts Fest Helpful After A Year Without Shows Due To COVID

Monday, September 6th 2021, 4:13 pm
By: Brittany Toolis


People packed the Paseo this weekend for the first arts festival in more than a year. Artists who've been a part of the Paseo Arts Fest for decades and first timers said customers were just as excited to admire their work as they were to show them.

"One of them last night said, ‘You know we bought your tumblers 30 years ago and now our kids are buying them," said artist, Lisa McKenzie. She and her husband create glass works for their company McKenzie Glass.

Art hungry customers shuffled in and out of booths to look at paintings, pottery, glass works, and much more at the Paseo Arts Fest for the first time since 2019. 

The fest was one of hundreds of festivals and events canceled because of COVID-19.

"This is like our first art festival in 18 months, so we've been sitting at home making our products," said Larry Tallent, of Larry Tallent Jewelry. 

"I signed up for a show every weekend and I did about half of those weekends. So, about half my shows were canceled during COVID," said Tennessee artist, and first time Paseo vendor Cory Ricuarte.

Over 80 artists from across Oklahoma and the country set up shop at Paseo. Customers and art collectors also mean an income coming in for the artists. Something many had to go without or brought in less of last year because of the pandemic.

"Lots of people ready to get out and spend some savings," McKenzie said. "It's wonderful to fill up my bank account a little bit." 

Paseo was one of McKenzie's first shows in a year and a half as well.

For artists like Ricaurte, those funds help him create more works on a medium that's prices are affected by supply chain backups.

"It's all stainless steel. It's a high grade stainless and it's baked on with automotive enamel," he said.  "I buy some of my metals salvaged so it is a little better priced. But stainless has gone up 100% in the past few months."

Others said they get inspiration along with an income at shows like Paseo.

"We need the feedback from the public. That helps us in our creative processes also," said Tallent.

The festival wrapped up for the year Monday at 5 p.m.