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Fort Smith’s museum to host Whooping Arts Festival

A wild whooping crane. Ryan Hagerty/US Fish and Wildlife Service

Fort Smith will host the Whooping Arts Festival from August 8-12, 2023, a beefed-up version of what was previously Art in the Park.

The festival will be organized by the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre at its gallery and grounds in the town. The museum announced the festival in a Thursday Facebook post.

According to the museum, the event will tie in with a separate Whooping Crane Festival being organized for August 12-13. On the Town of Fort Smith’s website, a message states that more information about the inaugural Whooping Crane Festival is coming soon.

Endangered whooping cranes are a celebrated resident of the region, migrating from Texas annually to nest in and around the nearby Wood Buffalo National Park.

The museum said the arts festival is “looking for work to honour the local research around migratory birds and the impacts of climate change,” giving examples of themes like movement, flight, habitat and place, danger and threat, or resilience.



Entries for display at the festival can be submitted in any format, ranging from photography and video to sculpture, beadwork, painting or drawing. You can submit work by email before 5pm MT on July 21.

The exhibit will open on August 9 at 7pm.

The museum said the festival will be a “new and improved version” of Art in the Park. The exhibit will be accompanied by an art market on August 12 plus prizes, workshops, live music, games and food vendors. (Vendors are asked to sign up online.)

“We will be covering shipping fees and will provide a $50 honorarium to the artists selected to exhibit,” the museum stated, while vendors coming from elsewhere are eligible for travel bursaries.