ArtsFest 2011 downtown Conway Sept 23 – Oct 2

ArtsFest is back for its fifth year, with 10 days of art-filled events around town slated to start Friday, Sept. 23, with the Conway Symphony Orchestra’s concert at Simon Park in downtown Conway.  

The free, educational art event will run through Oct. 2. The Scrap Exchange, from Durham, N.C., will headline the Art in the Park activities on Saturday, Oct. 1. 

The festival will include a wide variety of events. The Faulkner County Library featuring information on banned books. Also featured during the festival will be a speech debate, outdoor drawing lessons, Conway League of Artists exhibit and Arkansas Art Center’s mobile art unit.  

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Street Corner Symphony will perform on the Hendrix campus. On Thursday, Sept. 29, 101 Years of Broadway will be featured at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall, and bookbinder Craig Jenson will give a public lecture at Reeves Recital Hall on the Hendrix campus. 

Friday, Sept. 30, will kick off three art exhibits: The Art School exhibit at Mike’s Place, Blackbird Academy art exhibit at Montebanq Place and the Children’s Art exhibit at American Management Co. Three bands — Don’t Stop Please, Swear and Shake and Hoop Dreams — will perform. Kitchen Witches, a theater performance, will take place at the Lantern Theater. Big features of the day include the Conway Film Festival and Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams, which will include short films shown on the inflatable screen on Oak Street.  

“This year ArtsFest is bigger and brighter than ever,” said Dr. Gayle Seymour, associate dean of UCA’s College of Fine Arts and Communication. “Light will be the theme of the Friday night Art Walk downtown. Art lovers will be able to experience a display of illuminated lanterns created by UCA art students, a light installation in the caboose at Simon Park by professor Sandra Luckett, video projections on the upper stories of downtown buildings, and puppet films collected by Heather Henson, UCA Artist in Residence and daughter of Jim Henson.” 

More than 90 students have created the art lanterns, which will be presented by lantern-bearers strolling around the downtown area.  

Luckett said there would also be fire performers, including fire jugglers, fire breathers and fire artists. She has confirmed three fire performers that will be entertaining crowds from 7:30-9:30.  

“I am very excited about this year’s ArtsFest, especially Friday night,” Luckett said. “I tried to plan an evening that would lure a college crowd and bring vibrancy to downtown Conway.”  

Saturday, Oct. 1, will feature the Community Canvas, sponsored by Blackbird Academy. The academy will also host a story time. There will be a children’s parade downtown, Broken China Jewelry Project, free workshops from Sonshine Academy, a performance by the dance ensemble, Soul Speak and the third annual Chili Cook-off for CAFTA sponsored by local civic clubs. 

ArtsFest was designed to promote community awareness of the art that is being created in both a private capacity and in art programs throughout Conway, whether it be at an elementary level or at more advanced levels such as one of the three institutions of higher learning in Conway. 

For more details and information about Conway’s ArtsFest, visit 

For more information, contact Judi Moore, ArtsFest chair, at (501) 548-5224 or