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Demanding the Best, The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival

Browse, shop, and soak up the sights at one of the largest art festivals in Texas!

Montgomery County is blessed with an art culture that rivals the nation! Last month, we enjoyed the Greater Conroe Arts Festival in Historic Downtown Conroe. This month, Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival kicks off at Town Green Park from April 14 to 16.

Presented by The Woodlands Arts Council, the Festival is ranked among the top in the country and showcases fine artists from Texas, across the United States, and around the world. With more than $2M in artist sales in 2022, this year just might top that figure!

Something for Everyone

Live music, local food, beer, wine, and children's art activities are a huge part of this family-friendly event. An array of original art mediums is a major draw, making this festival a shopping tradition. Buyers find décor for home and office, buy special occasion gifts (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are right around the corner), and add to their collections from favorite artists, including Kristine Schneider of Conroe. The work of new and emerging artists is exciting too, including Conroe artists Patti Gary and Leslee McFerren.

“Nurturing and guiding emerging artists every year is our way of giving back to the creative economy and helping artists grow and get familiar with the festival life,” says Jenny Carattini-Wright, Executive Director at The Woodlands Arts Council.

The Art Dash

The Art Dash Party, produced by The Woodlands Arts Council and presented by The Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy, is slated from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm on April 14, 2023, at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. Attendees mix, mingle, and enjoy light bites and cocktails with VIP artists, and then participate in a 60-second “dash” for artwork to take home!

Meet Featured Artist Cathra-Anne Barker

The Festival is celebrating its 18th anniversary, and this year’s Featured Artist has attended 17 times. Cathra-Anne Barker, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a master potter with fifty years of experience and a mentor and role model to many aspiring artists. Barker focuses on pattern, the theme behind The Woodlands Arts Council’s Student Art Scholarship for 2023. Graduating high school seniors were asked to reflect on the presence or absence of patterns in the works they submitted in 2D, 3D, Short Fiction, Short Non-Fiction, and Poetry.

The Arts Festival and Art Dash Party are the primary fundraisers for The Woodlands Arts Council Student Art Scholarship and Micro Grant programs. The $6,000, $3000, and $1000 scholarship winners include Conroe ISD students from The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands College Park High School, and Caney Creek High School. Awarded pieces will be featured in “Anthology Volume 1,” available for purchase at the Festival.

A Labor of Love

The Woodlands Arts Council, more than 500 community volunteers, and a panel of Artist Jurors make the Festival possible. Among the Jurors are two familiar names from the Conroe art community — Kerry Conking and Brett G. Hall, who have both served as President of the Conroe Art League and sat on the board of directors.

Conkling was instrumental in opening the Gallery at the Madeley Building in Conroe and won the award for Pursuit of Excellence in 2019 from the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance. Hall sat on the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance Board and was a judge for the CISD Rodeo Art competition.

The selection process began last August with a call for submissions, followed by a live jury and acceptance notifications in November. This gave approximately 200 artists time to create and transport their wares to The Woodlands this April.

Many thanks and much gratitude to all who inspire us to get involved in the arts!

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