Whether you’re looking for an original watercolor painting, a handcrafted mug for your morning coffee or the perfect piece of repurposed furniture to finish a room, you’ll likely find it at one of the many outdoor arts and crafts events planned this fall in Wichita and the surrounding areas.
The area’s biggest fine arts event is Art & Autumn at Bradley Fair, a juried art show and sale happening Sept. 16-18. Now in its seventh year, the three-day event’s attendance jumped from 18,000 in 2014 to 25,000 last year along the parkway between the shopping and dining district and the nearby residential area.
“I think people are starting to see Autumn & Art as a tradition for the community, and Wichita has become increasingly an art-loving community so all of our art events are seeing more attendance,” said Teri Mott, director of marketing and communications for Wichita Festivals Inc., which organizes the event.
While attendance grows, the number of artist booths will not, even though applications for the juried show surged to 174 this year.
“Even if 500 apply, we will only ever top at 100,” Mott said. Space is limited at Bradley Fair, but Mott said the decision to cap it at 100 artists is more about preserving the vibe of the event. “We want to keep the quality and we want Autumn & Art to continue to have the feel of a boutique event,” she said.
Autumn & Art is free and open to the public from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18 at the center near 21st and Rock Road. There are 99 artists, including 30 from Kansas and others coming from 23 states, who work in 14 kinds of media. In addition to visiting the artists’ booths and watching demonstrations, visitors will find children’s games and activities, adult-themed activities, a lounge with charging stations and billiards, a stage rotating local musicians and dancers, and food and drink for sale. Visit autumnandart.com for a full schedule.
“We continue to amp up the programming each year,” Mott said. “We want to make sure there’s something for all ages and you’ll always find a lot of art-themed family fun to help share the love of art with kids.”
Autumn & Art is strategically timed so that it can fit into the schedule for artists and art-lovers attending one of the oldest and most established fine arts shows in the country: the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City. Scheduled for Sept. 23-25, it features 240 artists set up on nine blocks in the Country Club Plaza area and attracts as many as 250,000.
Fall is a popular time for arts and crafts shows in metropolitan areas, on the Main Streets of small towns and on family farms. Here are two lists, in chronological order, of events to consider in the Wichita area and beyond.
Wichita arts/crafts shows
Oct. 15, Porter Street Artists and Friends, Riverside neighborhood. A one-day art event held twice a year on the 900 block of N. Porter Street in Wichita to showcase the creative talents of Riverside residents. facebook.com/PorterStreetArtists
Oct. 16, Unique Antique Market, Sedgwick County Extension Center, 7001 W. 21st. The 22nd annual fall show in west Wichita has vendors selling a variety of rusty things, salvaged pieces, repurposed creations, jewelry, clothing, garden and home décor. facebook.com/unique.antique.market
Nov. 4-6, Vintage Market Days, Kansas Pavilions, 1279 E. 85th St., Park City. Held in multiple cities in 16 states, these three-day events focus on original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor and edibles. vintagemarketdays.com
Nov. 5, Craftapalooza & Vintage Market, Century II, 225 W. Douglas. This event is held several times a year and brings together boutique merchants with sellers of handcrafted and vintage/antique items. montagefestivals.com
Regional arts/crafts shows
Sept. 15-17, Autumn Daze Arts, Crafts & Music Festival, Branson, Mo. The 43rd annual event includes a juried show in historic downtown Branson featuring more than 100 crafters and artists from across the Midwest. Shoppers will find a wide variety of items, including collectibles, wood crafts, ironworks, quilts, jewelry, crocheted and knitted items, with many vendors demonstrating their techniques. downtownbranson.org/autumn-daze
Sept. 17, Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair, Hillsboro Taking place since 1970, this juried festival covers a seven-block area in downtown Hillsboro with 300 vendors and more than 40,000 shoppers. The event has been rated among the top 100 arts and crafts shows in the country by Sunshine Artist magazine. hillsboroartsandcraftsfair.org
Sept. 17, Art in the Park, Marion While in the Hillsboro area, travel 12 miles east to neighboring Marion for its event on the same day and featuring another 250 vendors. marionks.com
Sept. 23-25, Plaza Art Fair, Kansas City, Mo. This is one of the longest-running art events (85 years) in the nation and attracts a crowd of 250,000 during three days. Shoppers will find 240 artists offering ceramics, jewelry, photography and more from across the country encompassing nine blocks of the Country Club Plaza. plazaartfair.com
Sept. 24-25, UNPLAZA Art Fair, Kansas City, Mo. Held on the grounds of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, this event has shadowed the Plaza Art Fair for the past 26 years. Its focus is on local artists, with a juried selection of nearly 100 displaying and selling art. Concessions and a book fair raise money for PeaceWorks and the church. peaceworkskc.org/unplaza.html
Sept. 24, Whimmydiddle Arts and Crafts Fair, Scott City. One of the largest crafts shows in western Kansas, this event features 200 exhibitors from across the U.S. who arrive with original art, metal working, pottery and crafts in wood, fabric, jewelry, silk and dried flowers. whimmydiddle.org
Sept. 24, Overland Park Fall Festival, Overland Park. An arts and crafts fair is part of this festival that annually draws 30,000 to downtown Overland Park. More than 120 artisan booths will be set up in Santa Fe Commons Park. opkansas.org/Things-to-See-And-Do/Overland-Park-Fall-Festival
Sept. 24, Prairie Sun Outdoor Market at Souders Historical Museum, 39925 W. 39th St. S. Cheney. Acres of local artisans, antiques, collectibles, new/used flea market finds and food are planned for this event as well as tours of the farm that depicts what life was like in Cheney and rural Kansas in the late 1880s and early 1900s. facebook.com/prairiesunmarket
Sept. 24-25, Cider Days Fall Festival, Topeka. This 35-year-old event has grown into northeast Kansas’ largest arts and crafts show. Find more than 250 booths at the Kansas Expocentre. topekaciderdays.com
Sept. 24-25, Fair Grove Heritage Reunion, Fair Grove, Mo. Located 14 miles north of Springfield, Fair Grove’s annual event brings 30,000 to a historical site that has been restored as one of only two working “steam-powered” grist mills in the U.S. The two-day Heritage Reunion includes old-time demonstrations and a parade, along with 300 juried vendors featuring handmade crafts. fghps.org/heritage-reunion.html
Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Pumpkin Patch Arts and Crafts Fair, Manhattan. Local vendors selling handmade and refurbished arts and crafts as well as exhibitors demonstrating various skills and trade at Cico Park. pumpkinpatchartsandcrafts.com
Oct. 1, Art in the Park, Winfield. Barnwood signs, photography, paintings, stained glass, jewelry — shoppers will find a variety of local and regional artists’ booths at this 42nd annual juried arts and crafts show in the town’s Island Park. winfieldarts.org/art-park-festival
Oct. 1, Collingwood Barn Bazaar, Pretty Prairie. Join more than 100 vendors from Kansas and Oklahoma selling crafts, antiques, repurposed furniture and more in one of the state’s largest barns. It was built in 1913 and is just over 16,000 square feet. collingwoodbarn.com
Oct. 1, Kansas Barn Sale, Hesston. Now in its sixth year, this event was featured in Country Living Magazine as one of the top seven outdoor markets to visit in 2015. Find handmade arts/crafts and antiques at 100 juried vendor booths with a family-friendly atmosphere in and around the big, red barn set on a 6-acre former hog farm. kansasbarnsale.blogspot.com
Oct. 1, Keriel Dairy Fall Barn Sale, Whitewater. The Wiebe family puts on two barn sales every year to supplement the farming income from Keriel Dairy. You’ll find vendors upstairs in the barn’s hayloft and more vendors outside selling arts, crafts, antiques and edibles like homemade pies, cupcakes, honey and pure maple syrup. facebook.com/KerielDairy
Oct. 7-9, Summit Art Festival, Lee’s Summit, Mo. The ninth year for this fine-art event held just outside Kansas City in Lee’s Summit will include about 100 recognized national, regional and local artisans. summitartfest.org
Oct. 8-9, Sugar Mound Arts & Crafts Festival, Mound City. Now in its 45th year, this event has grown from displaying art by Linn County artists in the 4-H building to more than 400 booths using every building at the fairgrounds to display all types of handcrafted items from local, regional and national artists. The festival attracts 10,000 to this town of about 700. sugarmoundartscrafts.com
Oct. 13-16, War Eagle Fair, Hindsville, Ark. With a daily crowd of 60 to 80,000 visitors, this is the premier arts and crafts fair in the Ozarks. More than 250 booths are set up on a large fairground along the banks of the War Eagle River in northwest Arkansas, offering handmade arts and crafts in every category. Adjacent to the fairgrounds you’ll find the War Eagle Mill Craft Fair and the Sharp Show, two more events with hundreds of vendors. wareaglefair.com
Oct. 15, Rusted Rooster Outdoor Market, El Dorado. Rusted Rooster outgrew its space so the shop is hosting this indoor/outdoor market at the Red Rooster Reception Hall, 5475 SW 70th St., El Dorado. Shop local vendors selling handmade and repurposed items and eat at local food trucks. rustedrooster.blogspot.com
Oct. 21-23, An Affair of the Heart, Oklahoma City Featuring arts, crafts, antiques, collectibles and gourmet foods, this event brings 800 exhibitors to State Fair Park. anaffairoftheheart.com
Nov. 5, Sunflower Arts & Crafts Fair, Anthony. Expect about 80 booths set up in the Anthony Municipal Hall for the 44th annual arts and crafts fair. anthonychamber.com