Harvester Arts: Artists-in-Residence
Over the years, Harvester Arts (215 N. Washington) has been providing an invaluable service to the Wichita community. Not only does the nonprofit organization’s Artist-in-Residence program bring diverse, internationally acclaimed artists to Wichita, but also a chance for the public to work directly with them. This residency program partnered with Wichita Festivals (Riverfest) in 2015 and immediately began to yield jaw-dropping results:
Their first artist, THE Wayne White, was coming to Wichita.
Famed Los Angeles artist Wayne White (of Pee-wee’s Playhouse) directed workshops with the public which culminated in the production of gigantic cardboard puppets. In the process, participating local artists learned about sculpture and animation straight from the master. These community-collaborative works marched in Riverfest’s beloved Sundown Parade.
Rachel B. Hayes
Harvester then welcomed celebrated fiber and installation artist, Rachel B. Hayes in 2016. For Riverfest, Hayes created SunSails, a large-scale art installation built of nylon weather-proof fabric and high-tension cables. Assisted by local artists, Hayes sewed hundreds of fabric “flutters” that colorfully brighten the festival’s “Kid’s Corner”.
James Marshall (aka “Dalek”)
That October, Harvester introduced Wichita to James Marshall (aka “Dalek”) through a brilliant geometric mural now adorning their building. In 2017, Dalek brought his creative talents to Riverfest by designing custom graphics and artwork for the festival, painting a DJ booth and outdoor furniture now used annually in “Ackerman’s Backyard”.
At this year’s Riverfest, multi-disciplinary artist JooYoung Choi treated festival-goers to a series of whimsical interactive workshops and the delightfully sincere Perennial Favorites, Big Time Believer, and the Garden of Courage and Love. Choi’s work documents an intricate imaginary world called the Cosmic Womb through painting, video, sculpture, animation, and music. Once again, Harvester provided locals an extraordinary opportunity to work directly with a world-class artist.
Harvester’s Kristin Beal said, “We aim to make Riverfest - with its vast audience of more than 400,000 attendees - an annual arts destination”. If the past four years are any indication, it appears they are well on their way. Next year, Harvester will be bringing JUMP!STAR to Riverfest, a “social sculpture” project conceived and directed by George Ferrandi.
To continue bringing these kinds of experiences to Wichita, organizations like Harvester need our help. Check out HarvesterArts.com and follow on social media to find out how you can get involved, stay up to date on programming, and support your local arts!