Cottonwood Art Festival Sculpts Its Way Into Memories


Attendees explore boutique shops at the Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson. | Image by Mark Schade

The Cottonwood Art Festival began in 1969 and has been held on the first weekend of May and October in Richardson, Texas ever since.

This year the festival showcases over 200 artists chosen to exhibit their museum-quality work from approximately 1,400 submissions.

It has been called one of the most prestigious fine art festivals in the United States.

The festival not only showcases art, but there are also multiple vendors for food and drinks.

There is a variety of food from BBQ and southern cooking to handcrafted soda and espresso.

The festival is a family-friendly event that also features an art shop children’s area where kids can learn to weave, paint, play with clay and participate in many more activities.

The Dallas Express was on hand to take in the artistic atmosphere and check out some of the exuberant art.

Among the artists is sculpture artist Mick Whitcomb who focuses on creating art from conversion light fixtures made from mechanical and scientific innovations of the 19th century.

One of his pieces is the Remington Typewriter, which was the first typewriter that allowed people to type faster than they could write. It was also the first to feature a QWERTY keyboard developed by Christopher Sholes, an American inventor who developed the typewriter according to Britannica.

“I’ve always kind of enjoyed alternative processes, I like utilitarian sculptures and more kind of novel approaches than just you know the really predictable kind of paint on canvas and things along those lines,” said Whitcomb.

“So, you know it’s cool that these are issues will incorporate more than just the conventional mediums and have some of the alternative mediums as well,” Whitcomb added.

The Cottonwood Art Festival brought out many artists with impressive artwork like Ronnie Phillips, who is primarily a photographer that mixes his photographs with his paintings.

“I’ve always been a photographer and about 15 years ago, I got tired of photography and took up painting classes,” said Phillips.

“So now I’m doing mixed media where I paint a scene and I put my photographs right on top of the pad, so right now I’m doing what’s called mixed media – mixing my photographs and my paintings together,” said Phillips.

Some of Phillips’s art pieces have been bought by celebrities such as Sheryl Crowe at a show in Kansas City where she bought two pieces.

Academy Award-winning actresses Halle Berry and Cecily Tyson, entertainment icon Bill Cosby, comedians and television and film actors Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier and directors Spike Lee and Bill Duke, legendary recording artist Dionne Warwick, television and film actors C.C. Pounder, Glynn Turman and Sherl Lee Ralph have art pieces from Phillips hanging in their homes according to Phillips.

The festival even brought artists from different parts of the world like Andrew Butler, a travel photographer based in Brazil.

“This is all travel photography from Latin America, and I use window frames to present them because the whole concept was what if you were looking out a window at a different part of the world,” said Butler.

“It’s really taking off and I can barely make these fast enough, but it’s a more unique original way to present my work and I really love it,” Butler concluded.

The Cottonwood Art Festival runs from Saturday, October 1 to Sunday, October 2.           

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