June 25, 2013

Chalk art may be at RIAF

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Droverstock was drained of a little color this year due to rain and the subsequent cancelation of the Montmartre Chalk Art Festival.

However, it may not be too late for chalk art to make an appearance on Chickasha asphalt this year, according to Charles Watson, Rock Island Arts Festival Planning Committee board member.

The Rock Island Arts Festival Committee is coordinating with the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma to possibly bring chalk art to the Rock Island Arts Festival, which takes place Sept. 27, 28 and 29.

Watson said that if the chalk festival does take place, it may be on the sidewalks of Chickasha Ave., which would lead people to the festival.

Since rain can strike twice, a weather contingency plan is being considered. Last year, the rain was a damper for festival goers.

The festival is considering a contingency plan to move indoors in case of weather. Some of the problems that the Rock Island Arts Festival committee faces is the size of the festival as well as not wanting to incur more expense than necessary.

The Rock Island Arts Festival fundraiser, the Ice Cream Social and Sock Hop, was not as successful as the committee hoped, Charles Watson said.

The fundraiser made about $2,900, considerably less than fundraisers in the past, Watson said.

Watson and Rock Island Arts Festival committee chair, Chris Foster, have been hoofing it around Chickasha, asking businesses to help fund the festival. Watson said that last Tuesday, the pair acquired about $2,000.

It costs about $30,000 to put on the Rock Island Arts Festival, Watson said. This expense goes towards obvious expenses such as staging as well as finer details such as the night watchman.

Watson said members of the committee are working towards obtaining grants from the Chickasha Community Foundation Grant, First National Bank and Trust Company Community Reinvestment grant, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the George Kaiser Foundation. The committee is seeking other grant opportunities as well.  

In addition to funding, the committee has also been trying to acquire new members. Watson has been recruiting as well as treasurer Sue Getman. The Rock Island Arts Festival committee is also working on finding food vendors as well as artisans.

Applications for food vendors, artisans or volunteers are available on the Rock Island Arts Festival website.

Watson said there is room on the committee board for more members, which is down to 11 instead of the usual 14. Watson said that this is an open meeting and anyone is welcome to attend.

"A lot of times people will attend and then decide they want to get involved."

The next Rock Island Arts Festival planning committee meeting will be at 7 p.m., July 2 at the Oasis Studios and Gallery at 327 N. 6th in Chickasha.

"If they have ideas they want to share, we'll listen," Watson said.

The committee has discussed other activities on the CAAC docket, such as the Rose Cemetery Tour, which they hope to have in Spring 2014. The committee is also undertaking a new venture, a mini-Artscope. Artscope is a yearly arts festival for children from kindergarten age through 13. The official Artscope was cancelled earlier in the year. Watson said there was not a set time for the mini-Artscope to take place, but that it would probably be in July. More details to come.

Because music is an important part of the outdoor festival, the committee has started to plan what kind of music will be played during the three-day festival. Watson said that Saturday will be the day for "loud, raucous" music, Saturday will focus on the performance of classical music and on Sunday, the headliner, Kyle Dillingham, will treat festival goers to violin.

The Rock Island Arts Festival is the offspring of the Chickasha Area Arts Council, Watson said. This will be the festival's fifth year. Watson said the festival is likely to maintain favorite attractions such as the Children's Creation Station and new attractions such as a beer garden will be added.