Cottonwood Art Festival, Richardson

A few weeks back, I attended the Cottonwood Art Festival held in Cottonwood Park, Richardson. Now, Richardson was my home for 11 of the 15+ years I’ve lived in DFW, but for some reason I’d never attended the Cottonwood — a fact I’m kicking myself about now. I had a good time, despite the fact that I lost my cell phone, a traumatic event I’ll talk more about later.

As far as I can see, the reason I never went to the Cottonwood was because it always falls so close to the Wildflower Festival, which is also in Richardson in May.  They’re only a week apart, with Cottonwood coming first, and for some reason I always picked the Wildflower Festival instead (the music, maybe?).  This year I attended both, and let me tell you: I found the Cottonwood to be the more enjoyable. It was free, which the Wildflower Festival manifestly was not;  I was allowed to take pictures to my heart’s content; and, and…well, I’d better hold off and discuss the Wildflower Festival in a later post. I think you get the point.

The Cottonwood Art Festival, like most such events I’ve reported on (Cinco de Mayo, Denton Jazz Fest, yadda yadda) was more a county fair/food fest/musical venue/art show/mercantile celebration than a mere art festival, and that’s by no means a bad thing. Where else can you enjoy a blindingly-bright but cool day surrounded by every kind of art you can imagine, watch a Mama duck with her babies paddle along in a lake, listen to jazz, see kids make clay pots and misshapen bird houses, climb a rock tower, look over the latest Saturn automobiles, swill unusual beers, and enjoy a hearty helping of sausage on a stick, all with 100 yards of each other?  Hmm?

Jazz band

I wasn’t the only person enjoying the nice weather, though as usual I attended on the last day of the festival. Here’s a small taste the crowd I shared the Festival with.


Let me tell you something: DFW people love their dogs. I think about every third person brought a dog or two. Here were just a few of the many I encountered, most of whom were delightfully well-mannered. The Pomeranian reminds me my Foxy, who passed away last year.




And of course they had a great, fun section set aside just for the kiddies — much bigger, actually, than the one at the Denton Festival the week before. It was located, logically enough, across the lake from the adult stuff.


By the way, I crossed on a bridge, but not everyone did. In fact, a lot of people found reason to ignore the art altogether, and have fun with the landscape and its occupants instead. There were quite a few ducks out and about, including the aforementioned Mama and her babies (who were, of course, jacking lots of free food). Actually, Cottonwood Park is pretty neat — I’ll have to visit once the place recovers from all the trampling. I may even clamber out onto the dam across the lake, like so many others did. Might be a good place to fish.

Dam It!

Now, let’s focus on the art. There was some sweet art here, and let me tell you that despite the fact that I’m including more pics than I normally do in an entry of this size, they just barely scratch the surface of the array of stuff that was all around me. These are just a few of the things that particularly impressed me, and I really had to work hard to pare down the pictures. One of the things I wish I’d gotten photos of were some stunning oil portraits (made, I think, from photos somehow) by a guy named Dick Zimmerman. He asked me not to photograph them, but you can check them out here. A lot of the ones I saw are reproductions (I guess) of the ones on this website. Otherwise, I took a lot of pictures of impressive stuff people didn’t mind if I photographed, and of course I don’t keep a photo log, so I have no idea who did most of this art. Sorry, guys.

Here’s a really neat bronze statue I liked, one of many the artist was displaying.


If you haven’t noticed by now, I like statues. There was quite a bit of other statuary among the paintings, pottery, carvings, and the like. I thought this big metal flower was cool, and so was the metal and crystal whirligig in the next picture.  



There was this one guy who carved items out of what appeared to be big chunks of driftwood, kind of like the carvings by Michael P. Gray out of Denton. Heck, it might have been him. Here’s one of his carvings.

Wooden Horse

This young lady apparently made ceramic critters. I liked ’em! Probably because, once again, they’re a kind of statue. And given all the garden writing I do, they appeal to me from that angle, too.


And here’s something that I found rather unique. At least, I didn’t see any other examples of this craft, though it’s always possible I missed ’em. This guy made lovely historic-type stringed instruments.


Now, while I enjoyed the Festival immensely, I didn’t enjoy the fact that I lost my cell phone while I was there. I don’t know how it happened — I can’t even make the excuse that I was drinking too much beer or something, because I didn’t have any alcohol that day. Fortunately, the Cottonwood Art Festival organizers are terribly efficient, and when I discovered it was missing, these guys become my heroes.

Where I Found My Phone

Somehow, someone found my phone almost before I lost it, and turned it in to the information booth; and as it happened, I wasn’t out for hundred bucks that day. Yay Cottonwood!

The Cottonwood Art Festival is over for 2008, but check it out in early May when you’re in town next year. Keep an eye on their website at to learn the exact dates. Remember, it’s free!

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