CAFTA hosts sixth annual ArtsFest

The Conway Alliance for the Arts (CAFTA) will host the sixth annual ArtsFest, a week-long festival of music, art, theatre, dance, creative writing and film beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21.

Events will continue at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, through 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, and are open to the public.
Dr. Gayle Seymour, associate dean of the University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication and a member of the ArtsFest planning committee, said the purpose of the event is “to share the artistic life with the Conway community and beyond.”

The general theme flowing through many of the ArtsFest events is architecture, inspired by the signature event of this year’s activities, Architects of Air Mirazozo, a monumental inflatable sculptural environment, hosted by the UCA Baum Gallery.    

Baum Gallery Director Barclay McConnell said the main goals of the Mirazozo event are to share high-caliber, international art with the Arkansas community and to engage people who might not normally be interested in art with a universally appealing art and interactive art experience.

“I have high hopes about this installation, that it will be an ultimate experience in sensory pleasure and that it will bring a lot of our community together around this shared art experience,” McConnell said.

Funding for Mirazozo is provided by the UCA arts fee through the Artists in Residence Program and community sponsors including the Conway Convention and Visitors Bureau, the UCA Center for Community and Economic Development, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and Julie and Bill Adkisson.

The luminarium will come to life with the addition of dancers performing inside the structure.  CORE Performance Company, an Atlanta/Houston based contemporary dance company, will perform “Light Moves” on Friday, Sept. 28 (4, 4:20, 4:40 p.m.), and Saturday, Sept. 29 (1, 1:20, 1:40 p.m). To see the free performance, visitors should reserve Mirazozo tickets for those times at

A detailed schedule of ArtsFest events is available at All events are free; however, free timed tickets are required to see the luminarium and the CORE Performance Dance Company. Visit for ticket details.

“We have another wonderful week of activities planned,” said Jim Wiltgen, vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Hendrix College and ArtsFest chair. “We celebrate the wide branch of arts opportunities you will find in our community.”

ArtsFest organizers hope to encourage local visual artists to show and sell their art on Saturday, Sept. 29, in Simon Park in Downtown Conway. Vendor applications are available on the ArtsFest website. Volunteers are also needed. Contact the committee through the website.

CAFTA is a nonprofit organization made up of UCA, Hendrix and Central Baptist College faculty and administrators as well as representatives from the Conway schools and local arts organizations.

“This year I am very excited about the growth in the two last days of the fest,” said Shawn Goicoechea, a Hendrix student who is media and publicity manager of ArtsFest. “Personally I’m really enthusiastic about [the Friday night activities] ‘Get Lit’ and filling Downtown Conway with life and the vibrant cultural producers of the city.”

CORE Performance Company is funded by the Mid-America Arts Alliance with underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arkansas Arts Council and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Additional funding is made possible by Alternate ROOTS and the Ford Foundation through the ROOTS Tour & Residency Program and the Arkansas Arts Council Arts in Education Mini-Grants.

For more information, contact Wiltgen at 501.339.3569 or [email protected].