The Unexpected Festival , organized by 64.6 Downtown and curated by Charlotte Dutoit of JustKids has just wrapped up its first ever edition .Over the course of the week ( 3-12th September 2015) local residents watched as historic buildings in downtown Fort Smith were transformed by world recognised artists D*Face (United Kingdom), Ana Maria (Puerto Rico), Bicicleta Sem Freio (Brazil), Vhils (Portugal), Maser (Ireland), Askew One (New Zealand), and ROA (Belgium).
The artists painted a total of twelve murals in between ten-square blocks during the week and rejuvenated the historic buildings of downtown Fort Smith, and also awakened the sleepy town. Fort Smith was a former real western town of the lawless indian territory and has a rich history of legendary heros and outlaws such as the Jesse James Gang and Billy the Kid. Which gave the artists some great inspiration to play with.
Fort Smith already had a preview of what to expect during festival week when Irish artists Maser and Conor Harrington collaborated on an impressive large-scale mural at Boardertown Skate Shop in March 2015.
“We are lucky as Fort Smith has some huge and beautiful buildings; it’s a fantastic playground for us and the history of the downtown as a true Western city is highly inspiring for the artists” Charlotte Dutoit
The Unexpected Street Art Project kicked off on September 3 with a gallery exhibition titled Printology at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith’s Windgate Art and Design Building.
Brazilian duo Bicicleta Sem Freio paint ‘The Catira’, a typical dance of Brazil and is performed by ranchers and farmers. A epic highly colourful tribute to Fort Smith.
D*Face was inspired by the western tales “Bad Lands”
Talented Portuguese artist Vhills carved the portrait of a native American into the side of a building.
Askews wall was a tribute to the Cherokee Women who he met and photographed for this stunning mural.
Ana Maria painted two walls for the festival, beautiful eye detail.
Roa paints his extraordinary animals…the Mole and the Otter.
Maser returned to add some more colour to Fort Smith, with his colourful gun piece.
As you can see the festival was a great success and the residents are especially happy with the street art and the new buzz in the area. Awesome murals by these top class artists.
“…it’s not arrogance its the truth” Billy the Kid
Pictures courtesy of Unexpected