Back in 2010, the managers of the Wichita Riverfest decided they’d like to entertain Wichita in the fall as well.
With visions Kansas City’s Plaza Art Fair and Denver’s Cherry Creek Arts Festival in their minds, they launched a new event called Autumn & Art and set it up at Wichita’s most posh shopping center, Bradley Fair at Rock Road and 21st Street.
Seven years later, that festival is still going, and it has thousands of fans and followers. Autumn & Art returns this weekend with food, drink, performance art, and 98 artists from all over the country displaying and selling their art.
Here are the highlights of the event, which organizers hope will draw around 29,000 people over its three-day run.
▪ Patron party, 6-9 p.m. Friday: The event always begins with this popular party, which is open to anyone but requires a $120 ticket. Attendees dress up and are treated to food from Bradley Fair restaurants Newport Grill, Redrock Canyon Grill and YaYa’s Eurobistro as well as drinks from The Bar’s Open. The night includes a silent auction and a wine pull plus performances by the Steel Drum Band and Phlox, a group of fire performers. There will also be a craft beer tasting put on by Wichita Brewing Company, alfresco billiards and a photo booth. Tickets are available at autumnandart.com or by calling 316-267-2817.
▪ Art to buy and browse: The event will feature 98 artists from as close as Wichita and from as far away as Oregon, and they’ll be displaying and selling paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery, metalwork, sculptures, and more. Among the Wichita artists in the show are Stephen Perry, a Wichita print maker, and Brett Schauf, a local photographer. In all, 31 of the artists are from Kansas.
The show’s featured artists this year are Jeff and Judy Goodwin from Arkansas, who create jewelry using an ancient Italian glass technique called millifiori.
▪ A circle of drummers: Friends University percussion professor Von Hansen has put together a dramatic performance called “Inuksuit: Drums on the Pond.” Hansen has recruited 99 college and high school percussionists to circle the lake to perform the 40-minute environmental piece. It happens at 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 17.
▪ Live music: Autumn & Art also will feature musical performances all three days, including headliner Jenny Wood, who performs from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and Uptown Violins, who will play from 3:45 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 17.
▪ Food and drink: A culinary pavilion, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, will offer food to purchase from Bradley Fair restaurants Jason’s Deli, On the Border and Outback Steakhouse.
The pavilion also will be home to a build-your-own bloody Mary bar from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sept. 17. Also, a whiskey tasting is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sept. 17. The festival also will have a cigar lounge open the duration of the event.
▪ Fun for kids: Little art lovers also are welcome, and the festival and will have several creative pursuits to choose from, including a make-and-take art studio, a photo booth and an art gallery with work for sale at kid-friendly prices.
▪ Lawn games: Both children and adults can play lawn games like croquet and oversized versions of Jenga, Connect Four, Chess and Dominoes. Paddle Boats also will be available for rent on Bradley Fair Lake on Saturday and Sept. 17.
Autumn & Art
What: An annual art festival and sale
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17.
Where: Bradley Fair Parkway behind the Bradley Fair shopping center at Rock Road and 21st Street.