Wichita Festivals, Inc. officials today announced details of Autumn & Art: An Online Art Fair, presented by Fidelity Bank, and revealed the annual festival’s Evergy Featured Artist.
Autumn & Art, celebrating its eleventh anniversary, drew 30,000 attendees to Bradley Fair Parkway in east Wichita last year. This year the event will take place Sept. 18-20 online, due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s our job to gather our Wichita neighbors together, and our responsibility to do it safely,” said Teri Mott, director of marketing and communication, WFI. “We took a look at how similar art events across the nation, in communities large and small, were handling the challenge of holding an event during this pandemic. Nearly all have chosen to cancel their events entirely. For our team, canceling was not an option. So we’ve reimaged the festival in an online format that we hope people will find fun and engaging.”
“After a full decade of this inspiring event it is clear that our community needs Autumn & Art,” said Clark Bastian, chairman of Fidelity Bank. “Here, we have spent time together admiring the works of talented artists from across the nation and celebrating the creative spirit that enriches Wichita. We couldn’t be more proud of the team behind this year’s innovative virtual festival and the patrons who will make this an Autumn & Art to remember.”
Michael and Mary Ann Holmes of Prairie Village—also known as M. Robinson—have been selected as the Evergy Featured Artist team for Autumn & Art: An Online Art Fair. A poster of the Holmes’ Featured Artwork, “Opening New Doors,” will be available for purchase at The Frame Shop in Bradley Fair and at the online festival.
Attendees will access the virtual art fair by a link that will be posted at AutumnandArt.com. Festival hours are 6-9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 19; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 20. In addition to visiting with the artists by video chat and shopping their booths, attendees can enjoy a variety of entertainment, including music, dance, theater, artist demonstrations, mixology tutorials and educational videos throughout the weekend.
Admission to Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair is free, thanks to festival sponsors and the Patrons who support the event. This year the opening-night party will come to the Patrons in the form of a beautifully-appointed party-in-a-box with gourmet food from Bella Luna, Newport Grill, and YaYa’s EuroBistro; a choice of wine, beer and spirits or non-alcoholic beverages; exclusive entertainment; and Patron gifts, including a limited-edition face mask and a poster of this year’s Featured Artwork. Wine and whiskey pulls are available as an add-on. The A&A Patron Party-in-a-Box is $100 per person and will be delivered to Patron’s doors in the early evening on Friday, Sept. 18. Reservations are available now by calling Wichita Festivals at (316) 267-2817 or online at AutumnandArt.com.
Art-themed fun for all generations will be available on Saturday and Sunday. Look for sessions of inspired art activities by Mark Arts, designed for at-home creative learning. Artie’s Art Adventures will offer online, interactive games, photo opportunities and activities for kids.
Michael Holmes grew up in Glidden, Iowa, and attended Kansas State University, where he studied interior architecture. After graduating, he began drawing with pastels and later transitioned into acrylic painting. This figurative, textural and vibrantly colorful artwork is created under the name Michael Holmes. Michael later developed an abstract line of work, evolving a similar technique. This is the work of M. Robinson, a collaboration with his wife, Mary Ann.
Raised in Kansas City, Mary Ann Holmes earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University. Working with a French artist in San Francisco, she learned a myriad of faux finishes and painted in various venues. Returning to Kansas City, she continued painting decorative finishes. When Mary Ann met Michael in 2009, he introduced her to his painting techniques and they have been collaborating ever since.
To create their colorful pieces, the Holmes begin by building boxes with cherry wood. Next, they tint lightweight modeling paste and apply it to the box, pressing objects or drawing images into the modeling paste and leaving impressions. After the paste dries, they paint it with a coat of black gesso, allow drying time, and then layer vibrant, high viscosity paints onto the piece. After the piece cures, they deconstruct the painting by sanding layers off, revealing the tinted modeling paste and gesso in selected areas. Finally, a two-part epoxy is carefully applied in stages, utilizing a torch to remove bubbles and creating the glasslike resin finish.
At Autumn & Art: An Online Art Fair, original works will be available in 11 artistic media, including jewelry, painting, glass, fiber, photography, two-dimensional mixed media, wood and more. Fifty-two juried artists will compete for cash awards totaling $7,000. Artists who have been juried into, and have shown, at past A&A festivals—Alumni Artists—have also been invited to participate. This year’s Autumn & Art jurors are Rollin Karg, artist and owner of Karg Art Glass; Patricia McDonnell, executive director of Wichita Art Museum; Reuben Saunders, owner of Reuben Saunders Gallery; and Bob Workman, director of the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University.
Alongside eleven-year presenting sponsor, Fidelity Bank, other sponsors include Bradley Fair, Walser Auto Campus, House of Schwan, Laham Development, The Flint Hills Group at Morgan Stanley, IMA, Legend Senior Living, TCK, J.P. Weigand, CONCO Construction, and McClelland Sound. Visit Wichita is the festival’s Official Marketing Partner.
Also partnering with Wichita Festivals, Inc. to produce the event are Bella Luna, Newport Grill, YaYa’s EuroBistro, Mark Arts, The Frame Shop, Docuplex and HomeGrown. Media partners for the event are KAKE-TV, Lamar Outdoor, iHeart Radio/B98-FM, Intake Studios, KMUW, SPLURGE!, East Wichita News/West Side Story and The Wichita Eagle.
Wichita Festivals, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization with the purpose of creating diverse community celebrations within the Wichita community.