Aaron Douglas Art Fair prepares for 12th annual showcase, expands to area artists, offers all types of creations

This year’s 12th annual Aaron Douglas Art Fair is all about marbles.


Featured artist Jodee Jensen, a local Topeka artist whose piece “Controlled Chaos” resembles a series of marbles of different sizes and colors, is the inspiration behind the theme.

Her work will be printed in black and white on T-shirts, allowing for children and their families to paint the shirts in colors they like, collaborating with the theme.

In the children’s tent, there will be interactive art exhibits with kids creating their own masterpieces by rolling marbles in paint, then transferring them to paper to make their own abstract pieces.

“There will also be face painting, balloon animals, and I believe the folks from the Brown v. Board historic site will be there with some activities as well,” said Patricia Phillips, the art director of the fair.

In addition to kids’ activities, there will also be two stages for entertainment, about 40 different artists and food vendors to satisfy the hungry crowds.

New this year, the art fair is partnering with Harvesters as well as the ACT Theatre Company in Topeka.

To kick off its food drive and CANstruction event at Westridge Mall, Harvesters are asking guests to bring canned food items in preparation for creating can sculptures.

The ACT Theatre Company will be performing a short, 30-minute play at noon on the Legacy Stage. The play is called “The Hysterical History of Cleopatra” by D.M Larson. The Legacy Stage is located directed in front of the Aaron Douglas art mural.

Phillips said she reached outside of Topeka artists this year to incorporate more budding talents, presenting the opportunity to artists in Lawrence and Kansas City to come present their work in Topeka.

In addition to canvases, Phillips said artists will present sculptural pieces and ceramics, among others.

“We try to focus on emerging artists, ones who haven’t shown their work before and want to share it with the community,” Phillips said.

There will also be a few “professional” artists showing, such as George Mayfield from the NOTO Arts District. Phillips said he was personally chosen to display his works at the fair.

The day of, Phillips said she finds herself interacting mostly with the artists, motivating them to continue sharing their art — and said she greatly enjoys the time because before the day of, they’ve mostly corresponded via email.

“It’s definitely difficult for a lot of artists to get their feet wet, and see people critiquing their art or walking past their booth without coming to take a look, but they’re all very talented,” she said. “I think that’s my favorite part of the whole weekend, the whole day is just awesome for me, getting to talk with the artists about their pieces.”

The ADAF is free to attend, and takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Aaron Douglas Art Park at 12th and Lane St. For information, visit aarondouglasartfair.com.



Main Stage performers:

David Franklin

RV on the Rocks

The Good Hang

Rachael Louise Taylor

Smith & Liston

Performances start at 10 a.m. and each band plays for one hour and 15 minutes. Last band performs at 3 p.m.

Legacy stage performers :

ACT Theatre Company

Ire Dance Company

Kyler Carpenter

Matt Spezia - spoken word

Performances start at noon and last about thirty minutes.