Fort Worth advertising agencies were trash-talking Downtown Fort Worth Inc. last year when the nonprofit that puts on the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival (among other pro-Cowtown activities) chose a Dallas-based ad agency to promote the weekend-long spring event. Resource 3 in Dallas wrested the account away from Fort Worth's Stuart Bacon agency, which completed a two-year contract in 1998. Resource 3 handled the public relations and marketing for Main St. last year, and one of its key staffers, Donna Van Ness, was recently hired by DFWI to bring event management, PR, marketing, and the whole artful shebang in house for the first time. Both Van Ness and Kelly J. Kitchens, who will freelance the publicity out of her own Dallas-based PR firm, are quick to say they are Fort Worth natives. Can't we all just get along, Blink wonders, and bury this tired North Texas feud?
Main St. will be held April 13-18 this year, and, in addition to a street fair, arts and crafts booths, and performing-arts venues, the event will continue its emphasis on fine art with a respected juried "Festival Exhibition." DFWI seems to be keeping with the local flavor by selecting Joan Davidow, Arlington Museum of Art director, as the exhibition's juror. But the juried show can't be exhibited in the boarded-up Contemporary Art Center downtown, so Kitchens says DFWI has struck a deal to use the gallery space at the Modern Art Museum's Sundance Square Annex for the April 9-May 8 show. "It's a smaller space," Kitchens says, "but still a very high-visibility venue."
Blink thinks it's about one-third the size of the cavernous CAC, but Van Ness says size doesn't matter and won't affect the integrity of the juried show. "Joan is going to just look at the entire application base and make a determination from there," Van Ness says of the festival judging process. "We may have to limit the number of artists selected if we see some exciting larger pieces, or if the top of the group consists of smaller works, then we can have more pieces." All media, including installations, are eligible to enter the juried show, whose deadline for applications is February 28. Interested artists can get applications and complete info from DFWI at (817) 336-2787. Up to $2,000 in cash awards will be given out, in addition to the month of exposure. More than 430,000 people cruised the free arts festival last year during its four-day run.
It's also not too late for artists to enter another festival exhibition that's soliciting artwork in any media. Coordinator Megan McGraw says February 7 is the cut-off for artists to submit work for the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, to be held April 7-9. Call (214) 855-1881 for details.
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Annabelle Massey Helber