Kicking off the 2014 Bentonville Art & Culinary Festival with Art Fete

Disclosure: I attended Art Fete, which was a kick-off party for the 2014 Bentonville Art & Culinary Festival, on behalf of Storyline Influencers and its client. I was compensated for my participation but all photos, opinions and words expressed in this blog are my own.

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In case you haven’t noticed, Bentonville, Ark. has become a mecca of sorts for the art and culinary community. The opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was a catalyst for more art to come to the city usually known for being the home to the largest retailer in the world. Downtown Bentonville Inc. is hosting the 2014 Bentonville Arts & Culinary Festival, which is a month-long series of events that celebrate…you guessed it…art and culinary excellence.

I recently got to attend the ArtFete event, which kicked off the festival (check out the hashtag #BACF2014 on social media to see great pictures from the festival).
I recently got to attend the Art Fete event, which kicked off the festival (check out the hashtag #BACF2014 on social media to see great pictures from the festival).

 ArtFete (pronounced Art Fet, not feet) was at the beautiful 21C Museum Hotel. By the way, check out the first picture. That's the front of the hotel. Notice the car with Cuban legs represented underneath and the 21C trademark penguins on the roof.
Art Fete (pronounced Art Fet, not feet) was at the beautiful 21C Museum Hotel. By the way, check out the first picture. That’s the front of the hotel. Notice the car with Cuban legs represented underneath and the 21C trademark penguins on the roof.

When I was a reporter, I often had the privilege to attend events for free because I was media and there to cover the event. I kinda miss that perk but having a comped ticket for this event was even more fun because I’m allowed to write about my own experience, my own “thots.”

Isn’t that what art is all about? I think it’s a secure person who can present something that means so much to them and be fully aware that someone is going to see it differently, to have a different emotional response than the artist originally intended.

The Bentonville Art & Culinary Festival is filled with opportunities throughout June to experience the arts and culinary artistry.

This is the schedule for the Bentonville Art and Culinary Festival. Don't worry, there's a much bigger and readable one available at downtownbeonville.org
This is the schedule for the Bentonville Art and Culinary Festival. Don’t worry, there’s a much bigger and readable one available at downtownbentonville.org

 

Back to Art Fete

The BACF is going to be a fantastic event but let’s talk more about the fun I had at Art Fete. It is my blog, after all!

The appetizers were amazing and the music was really enjoyable.
The appetizers were amazing and the music was really enjoyable.

 

Besides learning how to pronounced “fete,” I also learned another new term. I am not a dressy person and don’t know a lot about fashion. So imagine my concern when the invitation for Art Fete was “urban modern.” I had no idea what that meant so I took my fellow blogger Eleanor’s advice and searched Pinterest. You can learn a lot on the Internet! I still felt worried a little bit that I wouldn’t fit in because seriously, not a fashionista.

I was pleased to find that people felt comfortable dressing in their own style and no one openly judged others for how they were or weren’t dressed. It made it an environment where friends could enjoy the company of friends and folks could meet new people.

It was a bit dark in the hotel so getting good photos of people was hard! The pic on the left is my friend Nicki and Mark. I don't know the people on the right but thought it was fun that they were hanging out next to one of the hotel penguins.
It was a bit dark in the hotel so getting good photos of people was hard! The pic on the left is my friend Nicki and Mark. I don’t know the people on the right but thought it was fun that they were hanging out next to one of the hotel penguins.

 

They had a fun photo booth type thing where they took your mug shot and added it to a growing collage of multi-colored photos throughout the night.

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The music throughout the night was great. My favorite was the Artosphere Orchestra, but I ironically didn’t get a good photo of them because they were in a tight circle in a very dark hallway.

I also really enjoyed the band that played throughout the evening, The 1 oz. Jig.

The 1 oz Jig band was really great. A fun jazzy sound.
The 1 oz Jig band was really great. A fun jazzy sound.

 

The 21C Museum Hotel was the perfect spot to kick off the Bentonville Art & Culinary Festival.

We were also treated to a tour of the 21C galleries. I forgot this man's name but he gave us a great history of the hotel and its mission, as well as information about some of the exhibits.
We were also treated to a tour of the 21C galleries. I forgot this man’s name but he gave us a great history of the hotel and its mission, as well as information about some of the exhibits.

They have rotating exhibits that change about every six months. The owners of 21C want to have 15 hotels within the next 5 years. All of the 21C hotels are renovated and refurbished old properties, all with the idea of bringing life back to a downtown area and bringing art to a community’s daily life. Interestingly, the Bentonville location is the only first-built 21C facility.

So have you checked out the Bentonville Art & Culinary Festival schedule yet? What events do you plan to attend?

7 comments / Add your comment below

    1. Thanks! Yes, it’s an awesome schedule. I need to look more closely and pick stuff to do. I kinda want to do it all! And Stephanie, the Ox Ribs (the round things in the middle of my collage picture) were amazingly divine.

    1. Isn’t the collage great? I took that pic early on in the evening but as folks had their pictures taken the collage grew. It was fun!

  1. What a fun evening! I’m been wanting to check out the 21C Museum Hotel and your write-up increased that want. 🙂 Also, thanks for letting us in on “urban modern” wear. I hadn’t heard of that before either!

    1. Oh Deborah, you really do need to go up there. The Hive is expensive but the food is good. The galleries are small but incredibly interesting. Come up and do a “Bentonville Square” thing sometime. Let me know when and maybe I can join you! It’s so interesting to me to have a hotel that is a museum too.

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