Over the past few years, another retailer in the Paseo District has been setting up their own art show — right next to the Paseo Art Festival, on the same weekend. In fact, the two shows are so close together that many visitors assume that it’s all one big show.

Now, this sort of thing happens all over the place — where major art shows have “satellite shows” popping up right next to them. Most of the time, both the main show and the satellite show recognize eachother and form a friendly symbiotic relationship. The main show would be more strict and would feature established artists, while the satellite show would feature emerging artists while “feeding off the gravity well” of the bigger show. For instance, Tulsa Mayfest has Blue Dome, and the Ann Arbor Street Fair is actually four art shows in one!

Likewise, “Paseo proper” has a fairly strict entry jury process, and it only allows a certain number of artists from each medium. The show right next to Paseo picks up where it leaves off — if an artist doesn’t pass Paseo’s jury, the other show offers them a space.


Even though some people see this as an opportunity for more artists to display in the Paseo Arts District, others consider it a little corner where ‘second-hand artists’ are shunted off to simply sap Paseo’s customer base. Granted, the satellite show doesn’t have a rule disqualifying “buy/sell artists” (people who sell stuff that they didn’t make), and it doesn’t have a limit on the number of artists in each medium. The management at Paseo claims that their art festival is the only way that the district makes any money, and this other show’s mere presence is hurting their bottom line.


Since they can’t seem to get along, the management of the Paseo Arts District petitioned the city to create a city ordinance which would somehow punish the other show. According to rumor, their first attempt involved putting a protective bubble around art shows — “multiple shows occurring at the same time should be a minimum of two blocks apart”, but that apparently didn’t pan out.. Instead, they rammed through an ordinance that requires every artist who is doing business outside of a designated arts district to pay the city $50 for a sales permit, above any existing booth fee that a given art show will charge. The ordinance also prevents outdoor sellers from obstructing right-of-way — you can’t set up in the street.

SOURCE : Oklahoma City Municipal Code — Chapter 39, Article III, Division 2


Sure, they jacked up the rates for the satellite show, but the art festival at the Oklahoma City Community College (15 miles away) took collateral damage. As of 2011, the total booth fee for the OCCC Festival will go from $300 to $350 — making it the most expensive show in the state. — link

According to this news article from April 15, the proposed ordinance contained the line (39-70, b) — “Any outdoor seller doing business on a lot owned by a educational, religious, or charitable institution shall be exempt for the permit requirements of this section.” I wonder what happened to that line? It would sure be handy right about now.

If the new show at Bricktown takes off (which I hope it does), then they will be affected too. How will the “right-of-way restriction” affect the Bricktown show since it takes place entirely in the street?

Thanks, Paseo.. I love ya and all, but dammit, your little tussle with your neighbor is screwing it up for everybody — even people who have nothing to do with you! Your little “solution” doesn’t affect Kathy — it affects THE ARTISTS. She doesn’t have to pay the fee, WE DO. Sure, she could deduct the $50 out of her booth fee, but she won’t. Nobody will. A better solution would be to deal with Kathy directly without dragging everybody else into it. On top of that, Kathy isn’t your “neighbor” — she runs one of the shops in your very district! Again, what does this have to do with OCCC, Bricktown, and any other show that might pop up in the largest city in Oklahoma? ..that’s what I thought.

One Response

  1. What has been really missed here is the fact that, so many years ago, (as I well remember, as an artist that participated in the festival, in 1991, and 1992) the Paseo Festival started as a street fair. The street fair that included; local artists, local businesses, people who dabbled in art, simple people who loved art, and had it to sell. I remember Kirby who owned Zat’s selling Birkenstocks, I remember a funny guy who, didnt make them , but sold great hats, I remember jewelry vendors that just wanted to take part in a show in OKC because it was close to home. My point is….the recent push by the Paseo Artist Assoc. to make The Paseo Fest a “copy” of the downtown show is so very unneeded. Paseo has proven it’s worth and need no coaching, the artists and businesses that are open for people to view and see every day deserve the credit for bringing back the “GEM” of OKC, just as the surrounding neighbors do. As a person who bought a home in the Paseo, after putting a business there can say, “you can’t just sink money into a blighted area and expect it to come back” it takes a surrounding support group. I love the Plaza , but , Im still careful of where I park.
    All and all, isnt there enough customer money to go around for all of us? Don’t we all just love Paseo and progress?

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