art valet

Houston artist Jennifer Lang works the Active Imagination Zone.

Bayou City Art Festival is back, baby!

Mark your calendar for the in-person festival, Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, which will be held along Allen Parkway and Sam Houston Park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 9-10.

You might recall the many efforts by the Art Colony Association, Inc. (ACA), the producer of Bayou City Art Festival (BCAF), to support the artists and to stay afloat itself over the past year-and-a-half, which I’ve mentioned here. There was a massive anonymous donation to artists, virtual happy hours, auctions and hot merchandise offered on the website.

The good news is Houston’s signature art event survived an unprecedented three festival cancellations. Sadly, I’ve read about long-running festivals around the country that didn’t make it. The artists who attend these nationwide festivals literally had their livelihoods pulled out from under them. The false starts and then repeated cancellations must have been just as disheartening.

I’ve been a longtime fan of BCAF and get lost wandering the festival, visiting the artists and hearing their stories. I’m not certain, but I believe this is the first time BCAF has been set up at Sam Houston Park and Allen Parkway.

Fans like me are ready to get back to a full-fledged art festival. BCAF will not disappoint. The festival will feature live music, food trucks and beverage stations along with two entertainment stages and art installations.

The advantage of being just outside of downtown on Allen Parkway is the skyline view - all while enjoying a wine garden, craft beer garden and Art Bar. For the kids there is the Active Imagination Zone. The festival’s nonprofit partners will host hands-on art activities for all ages. This is always a big hit.

For the ultimate art lover, BCAF and Frost Bank will offer a limited-availability VIP ticket experience, which will include a tented oasis with light bites, and complimentary beer, wine and other beverages. The relaxing setting under a canopy of trees will feature roaming musicians, artistic décor, a phone-charging station and more. VIPs will receive all-day access to the VIP area, along with VIP parking.

As one of the top art festivals in the country, the weekend event will provide patrons with the opportunity to personally meet artists, view original works and purchase artwork from 19 art disciplines including paintings, prints, jewelry, sculptures and more.

The festival’s nonprofit partners include Artists For Artists, Fresh Arts, Houston SPCA, Warriors In Art, Orange Show For Visionary Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. As part of its mission the ACA has raised more than $3.6 million for local nonprofit programs from the proceeds of its festivals.

Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park in the spring and Bayou City Art Festival Downtown in the fall has provided a venue for more than 20,000 artists to showcase their work to thousands of art lovers from all over the world.

Tickets will be available soon, including early bird and VIP tickets. Get those and much more on the website,

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

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