Artists reflect on weeklong Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City
On the first day of kindergarten, David Canavesio kicked and cried until his teacher brought out a set of art supplies.
He casually picked up a utensil to draw and his cries subsided.
“I thought to myself ‘school's O.K.,'” he said.
Canavesio, 51, of Oklahoma City, is now a local artist who has traveled to many places around the world and painted an assortment of subjects.
But his heart still remains in Oklahoma, especially when it comes to the art community.
“Oklahoma City has become a great art city,” Canavesio said. “This is like the perfect place for an artist to live.”
He said he gained encouragement to pursue art from middle school and high school field trips to the Festival of the Arts in downtown Oklahoma City. For the past six years, he's displayed his oil paintings at the festival, which celebrated its 46th anniversary this year.
“This show is part of life in Oklahoma City,” Canavesio said.
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While his classmates were more interested in food or other activities, Canavesio said he was drawn to the artwork. He said he used to approach artists and talk to them about their pieces.
He went on to study fine art the University of Central Oklahoma.
After graduation, he said he spent three years in Europe, exploring and perfecting his craft.
“I think studying art in college is great, but my biggest education has been traveling,” Canavesio said.
Now when schools bring their students through the Oklahoma City festival, Canavesio said he finds joy in being able to encourage young artists.
“It's kind of neat to be on the other end and share with them like the artists did with me,” he said.
As the weeklong festival came to an end Sunday night, Canavesio said this year has been one of the best times he's had at the festival.
“There's just a very positive mood,” he said.
Emily Trotter, communications director for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, said artists this year have told her they had record-
She said the festival annually averages about 750,000 people during the week. However, this year she said it appears even more people attended.
Overall, the festival had 144 artists from several states who work with oils, water, glass, sculpture, wood, leather and other items, Trotter said.
The festival also had 5,000 volunteers helping.
“We've been very fortunate to have the volunteers we have,” Trotter said.
Vinyl artist Desiree Warren, 29, of Kansas City, Mo., said she enjoyed participating in the festival and might volunteer to come be part of it next year if she's not selected as an artist.
“It's always nice to come back,” she said. “People are so nice.”
She spoke to a couple browsing through her display of street sign clocks Sunday, inquiring if they had any questions about the work.
The woman turned around and said, “I think I'm going to buy this one.”
“I think I'm going to sell it to you,” Warren replied and smiled.