WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — 12 artists, three rounds, and one champion.
That’s what folks can expect to see as the new season for the Art Battle kicks off right here in Wichita Falls this weekend. The 2022 Art Battle National Championship was held right here in Wichita Falls at the MPEC, but in an effort to showcase more of the town, the event will be held in the lobby of the iconic Big Blue building.
In just about 24 hours, doors will open in the historic Big Blue building downtown to start a brand new season of the Art Battle.
“We are holding some rounds here hoping that we can get one of our people to advance far enough to go Daytona Beach,” event coordinator Bob Barrow said.
Which is where the national championship will be for this season. Barrow says this event is one you don’t want to miss.
“I don’t care if you’ve never painted before, which would probably be more interesting to you because as you walk around in a circle, you’re here looking at this painting and you think its a rock, you come back around and all of a sudden its a tree,” Barrow said.
How the Art Battle works is each artist will have only 20 minutes to paint live in front of an audience who will then decide who the champion is.
Owner of Junk Busting and JB Construction Devonie Hutchinson is sponsoring this year’s featured artist, Lief Mcilwaine, who competed in last season’s national championship.
“He’ll be the featured artist in Art Battle. He’ll also be doing two custom murals, we gave him creative freedom, that we’ll be posting somewhere around town. It’s a surprise,” Hutchinson said.
Mcilwaine lives in Brooklyn and says he was excited when he heard he was going to be visiting Wichita Falls once again.
“I’ve been 16 years in Brooklyn, but grew up in Salt Lake City Utah, and it’s just familiar. It’s the west. This kinda feels like home,” Mcilwaine said.
Hutchinson says this event could be the catalyst for something big in the future.
“This is kind of a trial run. We are working on a contest that could bring artists from other places, as well as, local artists to battle. Something along the lines of a mural, we won’t give it all away yet, and so this is kind of a trial run to get us ready for that in the late fall or early spring,” Hutchinson said.
Adding to the growth of the arts community one stage at a time.
The Art Battle kicks off Saturday, Aug. 20, at Big Blue. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the competition will start at 7 p.m.
For more information on how you can purchase tickets, click here.