Art Valet: Bayou City Art Festival returns to Memorial Park | Arts

The Bayou City Art Festival, one of the nation’s premier outdoor art festivals, returns to Memorial Park Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

The 50th Annual Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, produced by the Art Colony Association, Inc. (ACA), features 300 artists from across the country, including many artists from Houston. For the 50th anniversary, the festival’s featured artist is Daryl Thetford, a mixed media artist from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Being chosen to participate in this event is a very big deal for artists in Houston. Competition for the 19 artistic disciplines presented in this festival comes from all over the United States

I know that just choosing the right images to include in the artist application is a daunting task. As a former juror, I know it’s also a big job to review so many applications.

Houston artist Johnny Van Slyke Summers (Booth E6) was chosen as an emerging artist, only a few years into his painting journey, Summers was thrilled. His evolving abstract expressionism focuses on celebrities, wine and music with a muted subject matter highlighted by vibrant splashes of color. I bet his work is a success.

Artists like Jennifer Lang and Bonnie Blue, meanwhile, can be found in the Active Imagination Zone, where guests of all ages can play with Lang’s oversized bubbles and visit cartoon artist Blue, and create art with the festival’s non-profit partners.

There are hundreds of volunteers who make this event a well-oiled machine, and many of them come from non-profit partners.

Remember a few weeks ago when I highlighted Angela Carranza’s promotion to Executive Director at Fresh Arts? Fresh Arts is an ongoing non-profit partner of ACA. A portion of proceeds from all ACA festivals benefit non-profit partners such as Fresh Arts and ArtReach; A cause to give us legs; Orange Show for visionary art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resilience.

The following week, I told you about the 9th Annual ACA Middle School Art Contest. The 30 finalists will exhibit their works throughout the weekend. A ceremony for the students with prizes awarded for first, second and third place, as well as recognition of the winner of the 2022 “Dawn Clevenger Honorary People’s Choice Award” is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

The fall festival held on Allen Parkway was a great success. Looking ahead to the incredible weather expected this weekend, coupled with a return to Memorial Park after a two-year absence, I believe this arts event will be exactly what Houston has been waiting for.

Guests will find a food truck park, an artisanal beer garden, a La Crema Experience wine tasting, as well as performers throughout the festival. I spotted a few musicians on the website who also perform in the heights; Charlie and The Regrets, Matt Harlan, Pablo di Lauro and Charlie Perez are part of the musical lineup.

I can’t say you’ll find me partying in the VIP section, but I’m happy to announce its return! The limited VIP Hospitality Lounge is presented by Frost Bank and will include complimentary light snacks, beer and wine. The best part is that parking is included with these VIP tickets, but not for general ticket holders.

Free general secure parking will be provided to all festival ticket holders at the Northwest Mall located at 555 NW Mall. Guests can purchase a parking shuttle pass for transportation to and from the festival site. A round-trip shuttle ride is $5 when purchased online, and children 12 and under travel free. Masks are mandatory when driving the shuttle.

General admission tickets are available online at for $18 for adults, $5 for children 6-12. Children under 5 enter for free.

Note that tickets pre-purchased online are required to enter the festival. Tickets will not be sold at the door and can only be purchased online.

All of the details mentioned, including artists, music, food and more, can be found on the website,

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him on for additional highlights and artist stories.

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Reggie S. Williams