History of Art on Elm Avenue

In 2010 the local branch of a national housing services organization started an art event. On a recommendation about how to get investment in an historic but neglected area, Neighborworks Waco got into the festival business. For 4 years they ran a super event, each year getting bigger and bigger. Closing down historic Elm Avenue for a day, hosting an exhibition, keeping booth prices low so that local artists and makers could attend, Neighborworks invited the city to come remember why Elm thrived for many years.

Doreen Ravenscroft, founder and director of Waco Cultural Arts Fest, was involved from the start,  providing arts activities like the ones offered at WCAF. When our friends at Neighborworks knew the event had outgrown their ability to do their mission, they knew just who to talk to!

Last year, 2016 was our first year in charge and it was great. We kept things mostly the same, doing a few layout tweaks based on previous years. The juried artist exhibition was held in the fantastic Brazos E space and the youth art exhibition got a huge space we got to use for the first time. The step-topped building on the corner of Dallas Street was used for a day or poetry programming.

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In 2017 things will be a little bit different, as  we’ve switched over to the artonelm.org URL. Also! The Ravenscroft Foundation’s purchase of 418 Elm Avenue (the stepped one on the corner of Dallas St.) to be ArtPlace, for Cultural Arts of Waco to make into a centrally-located arts & community hub for the area. Plans are beginning for the renovation of the roof and other elements of the building and we’re not sure what state the building will be in when April 8 rolls around. We’ll still have a wonderful event filled with talented local and Texas artists-adult and children alike, local food purveyors, and free arts activities. More information this week about how to apply for exhibition space, booth space, or food sales! Also to come, a history of Elm Avenue, Waco.

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