Waco Cultural Arts Festival: Be inspired. Create community.

by Jenuine Poetess

Every year, on the last weekend of September, artists across every genre and medium gather in an expression of creativity the likes of which is rarely beheld in one time and place. 2015 marks the 11th Annual Waco Cultural Arts Festival (WCAF) which encompasses six, yes six, complete festivals in one: MusicFest, {254}DanceFest, WordFest, ScienceFest, Celebration Africa FilmFest, and the original ArtsFest  —  a juried visual arts compendium of high caliber artists from across Texas and beyond!

Each year, the WCAF adds new and exciting featured artists, interactive opportunities, and thrilling installations to the veritable feast of the senses that is each festival. Here I’ll note some of this year’s highlights in the hopes that Waco, McLennan County, and Central Texas will take advantage of this free public festival welcoming all ages to imagine, inspire, and create together!


guitarThe 2015 WCAF MusicFest will feature both locally loved and nationally known musicians on the mainstage Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! Local favorites include, Never Native, The Union Revival, Venus Envy, and MOJO Assassins. Central Texas String Academy and Choral Society will take to the stage Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening showcases appearances by Joel Laviolette and Rattletree Marimba, Encore!, and Tequila Rock Revolution and Sunday closes out the festival with headliner, Joel McCray Jazz Group. What a diverse musical menu!


dancersEach year the Out on a Limb Dance Company selects outstanding, unique, and “off the grid” dancers from across the country to perform on Waco’s stage. One favorite feature is the {254} Choreography Dance Exchange, a program connecting dancers and choreographers from around Texas and Oklahoma. {254}DanceFest includes free performances, lecture/workshops, dance jams, and classes (for only $5).


word festFor the first time ever, WordFest will feature a Texas Commission on the Arts poet, Sarah Cortez. Hailing from Houston, TX this police-officer-turned-poet will present workshops for children and adults alike and will feature a solo reading followed by a Q & A. Other highlights of this year’s event include a 2015 WordFest Anthology reading to kick off the weekend Friday evening, 100Thousand Artists for Change Open Mic on Saturday evening, and a special Her Texas reading and Q & A on Sunday Afternoon. With workshops, panel discussions, Ink Café, community open mics, and local authors selling and signing their works, WordFest is sure to offer something for writers of every age and every genre from poetry to fiction to memoir to post-apocalyptic mayhem!


science festA recent addition to the WCAF line-up, ScienceFest seeks to reinforce the wisdom that placing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) at the core of learning, cultivates critically and creatively thinking students ready to address the concerns of our community, our environment, and our world! This year’s theme is Robots, Rockets, Critters, & Chemistry and the ScienceFest featured Artist is Steve Veracruz presenting an exhibit on Fibonacci.

Celebration Africa FilmFest

film fest“Designed to showcase the beauty, diversity, and majesty of Africa,” the Celebration Africa FilmFest provides festival attendees the opportunity to not only screen important films, but to engage in community dialogue and conversation around the various issues, concerns, and celebrations portrayed in each film. Together with a number of community organizations FilmFest presents a rich experience of African culture through film and discussion. Friday’s opening reception will be followed by a screening of The First Grader. Among Saturday’s screenings will include, The Forgotten Kingdom.


art festAmong the juried artists who have been carefully selected to exhibit and sell their work throughout the three days of WCAF, there will be a number of artists doing live, interactive, demonstrations of their work. Additionally, there will be a variety of booths where artists of all ages can create a project souvenir to bring home with them. Many surprises and visual delights are in store at the 2015 Waco Cultural Arts Fest.


When: September 25-27, 2015
Time: Friday 5p – midnight; Saturday 10am-midnight; Sunday 11a-5p
Where: Indian Spring Park & Waco Convention Center
Who: Everyone, all ages
Cost: FREE! (all events, unless noted are FREE. Food and artwork are additional fees per vendor.)
Website: www.wacoartsfest.org

Jenuine Poetess August 2014Jenuine Poetess is an artist, visionary, and community organizer. In 2010, she founded In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW), an international, grass-roots, written and spoken-word arts project with chapters throughout Los Angeles, CA; Waco, TX; and Lebanon.  Jenuine is the founder of Waco Poets Society and co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective.    She writes, organizes, and creates rooted in the fierce conviction that holding intentional space, access, and opportunity for all people to foster their creative health is a matter of justice and is a vital asset to the sustainable thriving of communities.  She currently lives and poems in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.  You can contact her at: j[email protected].

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.


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