Artists from Spain, Mexico and London to be part of The Unexpected

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,215 views 

The Unexpected will return to Fort Smith in mid-October, once again bringing contemporary art in the form of murals, music and poetry. The event could be followed by a dedication of Gateway Park, which is now under construction.

The fifth edition of the urban art project will be Oct. 7-12 in downtown Fort Smith. Activities and artworks will take place throughout downtown in “an easily walk-able experience and will include hands-on activities for both adults and children,” a press release on the event said.

This year’s artistic lineup, curated by global creative house Justkids, includes Spanish artist and muralist Okuda San Miguel. Miguel will create his second piece for The Unexpected. In 2016, he completed the colorful “Universal Chapel” wrap-around mural on the small building where Rogers and Garrison avenues converge. That building was demolished earlier this year to make room for Gateway Park. Miguel will complete a “360-degree installation takeover of a home at 1319 G St., in his distinctive style of colorful geometric patterns that portray animals, regional iconography and human figures,” the press release said.

Though Gateway Park will not be completed in time for the Unexpected, the drier weather of the past few weeks has allowed for progress at the park. Concrete is being poured and stones around the park, now showcase the park’s name, said John McIntosh with 64.6 Downtown. The bronze statues have been completed at The Crucible foundry in Norman, Okla. They will be installed a day or two before the dedication ceremony, McIntosh said. If the weather cooperates, that dedication will be sometime in mid-October.

Moving over to the intersection of Grand Avenue and 11th Street, London-based artist Camille Walala will create her first piece for The Unexpected with an entire service station takeover.

“The station will be completed in her trademark tribal pop style, bringing bold and playful graphic patterns and colors to the intersection,” the press release said.

The emerging Bakery District downtown at 70 S. Seventh St., will play canvas to Hilda Palafox of Mexico City. The artist, also known as Poni, will paint a two-part mural on the Bakery Silos.

“Poni’s work brings subtle suggestions of expressions and emotions held together by light bodies and romantic surroundings,” the release said. “(She will bring a) gentle femininity in her compositional balance of forms and colors.”

Rounding out the public art projects will be an original light poem by Scottish-born, London-based poet, artist and sculptor Robert Montgomery. Montgomery is known for “his site-specific installations created from light and text.” His project will join the gallery of mural art on Towson Avenue added in 2018.

“In addition to the public art projects, The Unexpected brings French visual and performance artist Alexandre Bavard, delivering an adaptation of his performative piece BULKY, never before see in the U.S.,” the release said. “The performance piece, choreographed by Alexandre Bavard, features his original music, reinterprets the tag gestures through a dance system, interrogating the limitations of street art exposed in galleries and institutional spaces.”

The performance will be an exchange and collaboration with local dancer and studios. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at 1202 Garrison Ave., Warehouse #2.

Fort Smith composer Amos Cochran will present another musical experience — Memory Dissolve — at 11 a.m. Oct. 12 at Bastion Gallery, 914 Garrison Ave. The program is “an immersive experience playing on the effects memories have on us and the idea that we can rid ourselves of bad ones, even momentarily, through art,” the press release said. “Bastion Gallery will be transformed into a space filled with music, light, repetitive rhythmic patterns, taking the audience through a series of emotions and ideas culminating in the dissolution of music notes.”

More music is planned for The Unexpected.
• National Park Radio at 5 p.m. Oct. 5 at Cisterna Plaza, 1001 Garrison Ave.
• Escape Tones concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at Garrison Commons, 913 Garrison Ave.
• Tom Echols at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Media Center at 5 Star, 100 N. Eighth St.
• Bands at participating venues along Garrison Avenue Oct. 11-12

Additional activities, curated by The Unexpected, include:
• Oct. 5: Kick-off Block Party in partnership with Future School of Fort Smith, including a free family friendly concert by National Park Radio;
• Oct. 5-6: Fort Smith high schools Northside and Southside complete a joint exhibition at Bastion Gallery;
• Oct. 10: Company Club hosts their monthly Breakfast Club with keynote speaker, Pia Agrawal, Curator of Performing Arts at The Momentary;
• Oct. 12: Keynote by Jia Jiang, leader of 100 Days of Rejection; and
• Oct. 12: Event favorites Art Feeds and Wheel Mobile return for another day of kid and adult-friendly activities.

Link here for more details on bands, music schedules, artist lineups, speaker and event information.