Last Saturday, I went to Houston's Bayou City Art Festival Downtown with my sister, Jean. I recently discovered that this festival had a former life as the Westheimer Art Festival, which I attended over 30 years ago.
Jean had never been to either incarnation of this festival but remembered hearing tales of the Haight-Ashbury-esque ambiance of the Westheimer fest. I can attest that all traces of patchouli, tie-dye, and overall weirdness were pretty much absent at the Bayou City Art Fest. In its place, I found art at its finest in many forms: whimsical sculpture, exquisite jewelry from beads to jewels, purses carved from wood, paintings in various media, including scratchboard, a favorite technique I learned back in art school.
The food has come a long way from funnel cakes and turkey legs. I sampled a tasty ceviche at "Epicurean Adventure" where chefs from some of the city's top restaurants like (the aptly named) Artista serve up food tastings throughout the day. I also had a chance to meet the very cordial chef David Cordua, who is also director of restaurant operations for Artista, Churrasco's, Amazon Grill and Americas.
I learned from festival board members Nadia Troutenko and Bien Tran that the spring component of the Bayou City Art Festival, held at Memorial Park, has a much different feel, and different roster of artists than the more urban, street-fair vibe of the downtown fest. I may have to find out for myself next spring!