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SULPHUR, Okla. – As the trees and daffodils begin to bloom along the downtown sidewalks, organizers are busy preparing for the 11th annual Artesian Arts Festival, a daylong celebration of First American art and culture, Saturday, April 13, at the Artesian Plaza.

 More than 100 First American artists from across the United States are expected to participate, displaying a vast array of original, diverse art. Festivities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hosted by the Chickasaw Nation, the Artesian Arts Festival is a community effort, said Mark Milligan, Chickasaw Nation Arts and Humanities Executive Officer.

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The Chickasaw Nation works together with city leaders, emergency services, National Park Service staff and chamber of commerce representatives for many months to plan a safe, inclusive festival.”

The result is a family-friendly event that offers activities for all ages while highlighting First American art, artists, music, dance and cuisine.

“We are excited to welcome many esteemed First American artists to the Artesian Arts Festival, which provides artists a wonderful venue to showcase their work,” said Mr. Milligan. “We hope patrons experience a fun, impactful day immersed in First American art, dance and music.”

A juried art show and market, participation in the 2024 Artesian Arts Festival is open to all federally recognized First American artists.

Art patrons can expect a festival brimming with original First American art, including jewelry, sculpture, metalworking, beadwork, paintings, photography, textiles, basketry and pottery.

In addition, a talented line up of entertainment is scheduled, including headliner Choctaw singer/songwriter Samantha Crain, who will take the stage at 5 p.m.

Crain, of Norman, Oklahoma, is a three-time NAMMY (Native American Music Award) winner for her singer-songwriter, folk rock and indie style. She also won the Indigenous Music Award for best rock album in 2019.

Other musical entertainment scheduled includes Bluez Boyz, Ihullo.Art, Issac McClung, RCB Band, Redman Blues Band, TJ Todd Band, Tone Gyah Dae and Travis Komahcheet.

First American dance demonstrations from the Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe; Lighting Boy Foundation Champion Hoop Dancers Steve LaRance, Shandien “Sonwah” LaRance and Josiah Enriquez; Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli Aztec Dancers; Oklahoma Fancy Dancers; and Pueblo Enchantment Dancers are planned in two dance areas throughout the day.

Several food vendors will be available offering a wide array of delicacies.
Open to the public at no charge, the Artesian Arts Festival welcomed more than 10,600 art patrons to downtown Sulphur last year.

Partnering for Success

Sulphur Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Misty Treptow, a member of the Artesian Arts Festival planning committee, said the group is grateful to be involved in the coordination of the event.

“We are excited to have a Sulphur information booth setup again this year. Our board of directors love to volunteer for this event because it gives us the opportunity to promote Sulphur, our members, and to meet and interact with the community.”

Chamber members also take steps to prepare for the influx of visitors to Artesian Arts Festival.

“The downtown merchants plan for the extra foot traffic in their scheduling and advertise sales within their stores. Others also deliver extra print dvertisements to us, knowing that it will be displayed at the chamber information booth. It is a way for them to be promoted to an audience that they may not normally reach.”

Treptow said the chamber’s partnership with the Chickasaw Nation is key to shining a positive light on the “City of Springs,” which is home to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

“Sulphur is a very unique town. Being a gateway community, having natural resources and being in Chickasaw Nation, we find it very important to work together as much as we can. Sulphur has been recognized in national publications, on several top 10 lists for different categories, and we know that is because of the partnerships that have been built,” she said.

The Artesian Arts Festival takes place at the Artesian Plaza, adjacent to the Artesian Hotel and Spa, 1001 W. First St., Sulphur.

Shuttle service will be available from designated parking locations, including the Chickasaw Cultural Center, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the Sulphur Football Field, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Chickasaw Nation Arts & Humanities at (580) 272-5520, visit ArtesianArtsFestival.com or email ArtistInfo@ Chickasaw.net.

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