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Color Fest returns to Arkansas elk country

BY Randy Zellers

ON 10-13-2021


Oct. 13, 2021

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

PONCA – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Ponca Nature Center will hold its 16th annual Color Fest Fine Art Exhibition, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Oct. 22-23. The event offers an open-air perspective of fascinating work by some of the best artists in the Ozarks.

Lauren Cannon, nature center director for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, is excited to bring Color Fest back after last year’s cancellation because of COVID-19 concerns.

“We still want to promote social distancing protocols,” Cannon said. “The event is held outdoors in the fall setting of the Ozarks, so it is pretty manageable to socially distance and enjoy a visit.”

Cannon expects a good turnout, as the event falls right during the peak of bugling season  in the area’s elk herd.

“Before COVID, we could expect 200 to 250 visitors per day during Colorfest,” Cannon said. “Some came for the elk and stopped by the center, and others came for the art and discovered the elk on their visit, but everyone commented about how inspiring the trip was.”

Cannon says all artists who have signed up for the event will have some pieces to sell, but they spend much of their time demonstrating their craft.

“We allow them to sell their art, but it’s an educational event first,” Cannon said. “They may not give instruction per se, but a keen eye can gather a lot of information watching them demonstrate their work.”

Other artists also are welcome to bring their own supplies and join in the extravaganza. The color change in the Ozarks, combined with the picturesque pastures and bugling bulls tending to dozens of cow elk is a sight many people only witness through pictures. 

Young artists are always welcome to the event. Special art displays where youth can try their hand at wildlife art will be available.

“We have some art supplies available for the kids and some activities to spur their creativity as well,” Cannon said.

Attendees are advised to check the weather before heading to the event, as it will be cancelled in the event of rain. Unfortunately, artwork and rainwater don’t mix, but the open-air experience of being in the Ozarks among bugling elk is what draws artists from around the region to attend and participate.

The following artists have confirmed attendance for this year’s Color Fest:

  • Barbara Worth
  • Brenda Dickey
  • Ila and Keith Kolander
  • Rick and Yalonda Martin
  • Pan Klenczar
  • Winston Taylor
  • Madison Woods

Cowbell Ranch also will be at the event with their food truck to provide meals at a reasonable price.

For more information about the AGFC’s Ponca Nature Center, visit

Or visit their Facebook page at

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