Ariel King is trying to give mom and pop shops in Mission some more attention while simultaneously highlighting deserving artists that have gone unrecognized.
Tomorrow, April 27, the first Mission Arts Festival will be happening at various locations throughout Mission all day. The event will feature art of all mediums at various hotspots in the city, including The Historic William Jennings Bryan House, Upper Valley Art League, Black Iris, 5×5 Brewing Co., The Tea Room, Hands in Art Studio, the Speer Memorial Library and the Historic Border Theater.
King, the owner of The Bryan House, said the event was put together to showcase noteworthy places in Mission that residents and visitors often overlook because of the lack of awareness of their existence.
“I think that a lot of people have a misconception that there’s not an interest with younger generations,” King said. “That’s not the case, I think there is an interest, but the younger generations want activities. It needs to be interesting.”
Attendees in the festival will have the chance to try food from local restaurants, see a couple of documentaries made in the Valley, attend a book signing and appreciate art of all kinds (paintings, live music, blown glass, pottery, dance and photography) at 17 different locations in Mission.
“Once a year, let’s celebrate and highlight the different organizations and businesses that support the local arts,” King said. “Let’s highlight the positive things in our city and the business owners that have been here for years and years and deserve some attention.”
King said she hopes that with the arts festival, the public will see these regional spots in a new way.
“We want to give them some foot traffic and share what makes them unique,” King said. “I wanted to cover all the different forms of art – visual, performance, tactile, culinary, and that way we can see it grow and foster something beautiful.”
The arts festival will also be good for tourism in Mission, according to King, and provides a platform for artists trying to get their names out there.
“We have a lot of really notable artists that live here in Mission,” King said. “This is a way for artists in the area to reach a different demographic and a different community.”
“I hope it cultivates an awareness that we do have something to be very proud of, we have a lot of talent here,” King added. “I hope it inspires others to look around and see what’s really positive about our city.”
The Bryan House will be hosting a mermaid festival (For the Heart of the Ocean) from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow. Adult admission is $5, and children is $3. It will feature vendors, art, food, entertainment, a mermaid crown-making section and costume contests for adults and children.
“I want this to be whimsical and fun, and I don’t want us to forget that festivals are supposed to be free-spirited so we can have a good time and think outside of the box,” King said. “It’s a small place, but we’re going to have a lot going on, it’ll be concentrated and it will be interesting.”
The Mission Arts Festival also aims to show people areas of the city that have otherwise been overlooked due to location.
“I think we have a false notion that once you go west of maybe Bryan [Rd.] there’s nothing going on, and we want to correct that,” King said. “There’s interesting, inspiring activities and people all over the city.”
King hopes that next year, even more businesses and artists join in and participate in the festival. For a schedule and full list of activities during the Mission Arts Festival, see their event page on Facebook.