WORDS / ALEX GLADDEN
Fort Smith’s mural festival will kick off with a block party from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m at Cisterna Park.
The festival, The Unexpected, has brought more than 30 murals and art installations to the city, said Claire Kolberg, director of The Unexpected. Each year, the festival starts with a beginning celebration.
“For our fifth-year celebration we wanted to bring the party to where the people are,” Kolberg said.
At the block party, festival-goers will be able to shop at vendors and food trucks. They’ll also be able to practice yoga in the park and chalk the block.
At 5 p.m., the National Park Radio will play a concert to end the event.
“Eat, drink, stay for the concert. It’s free,” Kolberg said.
The Future School of Fort Smith is partnering with The Unexpected to throw the party. Superintendent Boyd Logan said a percentage of vendor proceeds will go to the school’s College for All program. The school will also take donations for the program at the park.
Logan said teachers encourage all students to attain post-secondary credits before graduating, which the school covers at $100,000. The money from the event will add to this fund for the College for All program.
Kolberg expects a few hundred people to attend. This year, the festival brings six artists to complete works across the city.
Kolberg heralded The Unexpected as a way to catalyze activity in Fort Smith, she said.
“Art is such a quick way to grab people’s attention,” Kolberg said.
The festival has brought Fort Smith national and international attention, said Claude Legris, the executive director of the Advertising and Promotion Commission.
“Well I’ve been known to say, In Fort Smith we look forward to two weeks every year Christmas and the Unexpected because we get presents both times,” Legris said.