Today, Oklahomans recognize Norman as a cultural city with an abundance of festivals and events through the year, “but Norman was not always like this,” said Emily Smart, Firehouse Art Center’s Visual designer.
Audrey Bethel, Carolyn Folkins, and Carol Whitney, three Norman, Oklahoma potters who created The Firehouse Art Center (FAC) in 1971, saw a need for art festival during summer and decided to create the first Midsummer Nights six years later.
This annual event will be held for the 38th time on Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22, from 6:00 p.m.– 11:00 p.m. at the Lions Park, on the corner of Flood & Symmes.
With the feature of its usual exhibition of thirty talented artists chosen by members of the Midsummer Nights event committee, you will have the opportunity to discover and purchase a variety of creative pottery, jewelry, glass, sculpture and woodworking, among other things.
The main animations – as Children’s Art Wall and Frottage drawings – will give you and your kids the chance to interact directly with the Firehouse faculty and artists such as Richard Mckown, an internationally recognized painter and sculptor from Norman by participating in “portrait drawing from a live model, and creating entirely unique thumbprint drawings,” said Smart.
Firehouse faculty and instructors will also perform demonstrations of wheel-thrown pottery, painting, jewelry, sculpting, printmaking, and drawing in the central tent.
As usual, the exhibiting artists will be judged by Douglas Blake and Jeremy Fineman this year. Both are Professors of Visual Arts at Oklahoma City Community College. The different judging categories are: “Best in Show (overall); 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place for 2-Dimensional Artwork; and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place for 3-Dimensional Artwork,” said Smart.
The music also will be played with the collaboration of McMichael Music, a private music school in Norman established 15 years ago, for the 6th time.
“We put the kids on the smaller stage and past and present teachers and former students on the main stage,” said Wess McMichael.
In addition to McMicheal’s ensembles, local bands will also be playing separately throughout the event, with Sweet Brenda, Aron Holt & Alan Orebaugh of Mama Sweet, Mike Hosty, North Meets South, The Oh Johnny! Girls, Headbutt, Nowhere Band, Annie Oakley, Kierston White and the Dirty Dishes, and Bungalouski, to provide a great variety of musical genres.
Douglas Shaw Elder, FAC’s executive director, explains the festival’s longevity with the fact that the FAC was created to provide “the highest quality visual arts experiences” for the community of Norman. The Midsummer Nights has perfectly filled this role with its artists, live arts and concert.
Because this event is free, it is sponsored principally by Oklahoma Arts Council, Norman Arts Council, the city of Norman, Allied Arts, McMichael Music, Republic Bank & Trust, Dunlap Codding and Red Dot Sculpture.
“As part of the Firehouse’s efforts in creating an interactive art community, all demonstrations and hands-on activities are free, allowing everyone to experience the excitement of creativity during this annual celebration of the arts,” added Smart.
For more information, go on normanfirehouse.com.