Unexpected muralist part of launch of Peacemaker Festival

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]s.net) 644 views 

An example of Hoxxoh's mural work.

The Unexpected will return to Fort Smith in July, helping kick off the Seventh Annual Peacemaker Festival. This year’s The Unexpected, an urban art project that began in 2015, will bring urban and contemporary art to Arkansas with Miami based artist Hoxxoh.

Douglas Hoekzema, aka Hoxxoh, will attempt to show a “different way of viewing time through a means of exploring its natural fabric” while he works on his art piece at 505 Rogers Ave., July 26-31.

“His work brings fluid painterly shapes and patterns embedded in philosophical approach. Through repetitions and analyses, Hoxxoh manages to recreate the characteristic harmony of contingency, revealing the aesthetic qualities of controlled chaos,” a news release said.

Hoxxoh’s work looks at time as a “beautiful energy meant to be marveled at,” his website said.

The Unexpected art mural project will be held during the last third of the year, according to 64.6 Downtown — a nonprofit funded and created by Propak founder and owner Steve Clark — has organized the Unexpected since 2015. Over the years, it has changed its timing from the fall to July and back to the fall. It has featured a variety of artists over the years. This will be the first time Hoxxoh has worked in the city. This year there will be only one art project, unlike in past years, said Claire Kolberg, director of The Unexpected.

“We thought this popup would be a great way to kick of the Peacemaker’s Festival while still being mindful of not having too many gathering and trying to stay socially distanced because of the (COVID-19 pandemic),” Kolberg said.

The Peacemaker Festival will be July 30-31 at the Riverfront Amphitheater in downtown Fort Smith. The “music festival by music lovers, for music lovers” works to bring in country, rock, blues, red dirt and Americana acts to the city. This year’s lineup includes Paul Cauthen, Muscadine Bloodline, Lucero,Giovannie & The Hired Guns and Tanner Usrey on July 30. Saturday performers will include Cody Johnson, Kolby Kooper, the Band of Heathers, Cody Hibbard and Kylie Frey.

Kolberg said the Unexpected is planning another activation in the fall as part of a grant they received from the Arkansas Department of Heritage.

“We received the grant in 2019 and had planned a May 2020 event, however had to cancel due to COVID gathering and travel restrictions,” she said.

The fall program will center around mental health awareness. Dates have not been confirmed yet, and details will be released at a later date.

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