River Festival

Riverfest 2015: Hoop art helps fill in Riverfest’s artsy side

Festivalgoers can take their pictures in cut-outs painted by local artists near the floating stage in Ackerman’s Backyard. Artists whose cut-outs get the most “likes” on the Riverfest’s Facebook page win prizes. This was last year’s winning cut-out, by Josh Christie.
Festivalgoers can take their pictures in cut-outs painted by local artists near the floating stage in Ackerman’s Backyard. Artists whose cut-outs get the most “likes” on the Riverfest’s Facebook page win prizes. This was last year’s winning cut-out, by Josh Christie. Courtesy photo

Riverfest has its first artist-in-residence this year in “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” designer Wayne White, and the festival is teaming up with Wichita’s arts community in other ways to make the festival more artsy.

Children can join in hours of themed art every day in a tent on the Hyatt lawn, painting with bubbles one day and pastels another, while adults can spin their way to some abstract art through Hula-Hoops that will spray paint through holes drilled in the hoops.

White and a team of local artists have created several 14-foot puppets that will appear in Friday night’s Sundown Parade (weather permitting) and then be on display in Exhibition Hall in Century II through the festival.

And for a second year, 12 local artists have created cut-outs of plywood through which festivalgoers can poke their faces and get their photos taken. The cut-outs will be near the floating stage in Ackerman’s Backyard at A. Price Woodard Park. White and his wife, Mimi Pond, will pick a winning cut-out whose creator will win $500, while lesser cash prizes will go to artists whose cut-outs get the most “likes” on the Riverfest’s Facebook page. Festivalgoers will get humorous photos for their own posting and cherishing.

The idea for bringing “hoop art” to the festival came when Cassandra Williams and Jennifer Mays of Half Moon Hoops Entertainment discovered it on YouTube.

“We just found this video of this girl who was an artist and a Hula-Hooper. and we thought, ‘We just have to try that,’ ” Williams said. She and Mays give hoop lessons and provide entertainment at parties and events such as Food Trucks at the Fountain.

For their version of hoop art, “we took a Hula-Hoop, and we drilled holes in it and we filled the hoop with paint, and the paint whips out of the hoop,” Williams explained. The hoops are small enough that they can be either placed on the hips or spun around with a hand. “It’s gonna be really fun.”

So far, the Half Moon Hoops duo has tried out hoop art only in their back yards. For the festival, they’ve made two painting hoops and will change them out with three colors of paint so that each participant can “paint” with three colors on three foam boards that will be positioned around them. Williams figures each person will spend 10 to 20 minutes on a painting. There will be eight 1 1/2-hour sessions in Ackerman’s Backyard.

The sessions will be free, and participants will be able to take a piece of artwork with them for free – but probably not of their own creation, because drying time is required. Rather, the paintings of previous sessions will be cut into quarters, and participants will be able to take a section of someone else’s hoop art. People who take part will wear trash-bag ponchos and/or aprons, but the paint is nontoxic washable, so whatever is splattered should wash out, Williams said.

Williams and Mays also will have 20 to 30 hoops available at their booth from 6 to 8 p.m. on weeknights and from 11 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. on weekends during the festival for those who want to try Hula-Hooping. You’ll also be able to see Williams and Mays performing with LED and fire hoops during the big evening events of the festival.

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @anniecalovich.

Hoop art

What: People can spin hoops filled with paint to create abstract art.

When: Noon-1:30 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and June 6, and 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday

Where: Ackerman’s Backyard at A. Price Woodard Park

Children’s art activities

What: The Wichita Center for the Arts will provide daily opportunities for children to be artistic as part of Full STEAM Ahead (which also includes science and technology and other projects that kids can do).

When: Paint with bubbles, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. Saturday; color resist, 2-6 p.m. Sunday; paint with pastels, 6-9 p.m. Monday; ink dot, 2-6 p.m. Tuesday; color spray, 6-9 p.m. Wednesday; splat painting, 2-6 p.m. Thursday; paint with bubbles, 6-9 p.m. June 5; paint with pastels, 2:30-6 p.m. June 6

Where: Cox Kids Corner on the Hyatt lawn

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