From resounding rock bands to professional paint-offs downtown Edmond has it all. April 7th marked the beginning of VIBES, Edmond’s annual downtown art experience. VIBES is a celebration of visual and performing arts which takes place on the first Thursday of every month from April to October. The organization collaborates each year with local businesses, artists, and music groups to put on a hearty display for the entire community.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in VIBES where I was pleasantly surprised by the stunning variety of talents on display. As soon as I left my car, powerful saxophone music filled my ears and set the mood for the rest of the afternoon. Every block was filled with talented artists of all ages and backgrounds who presented their respective repertoire. The event was framed by colorful, energetic murals which decked the streets and added to the lighthearted atmosphere.
The first event that I saw was a hip-hop dance performance. A giant speaker blared upbeat music in the corner while dancers went out on the floor and performed dynamic moves. Teenagers gathered in the audience and danced along with the performers, following the performers’ directions while showing off their own talent. Across from the dancers, photographers and painters lined the street, exhibiting their diverse collections of artwork. Expressive portraits, vivid landscapes, and intense photos surrounded me as I walked down the street. The artistic diversity at VIBES displayed the rich cultures within the Edmond community.
As I continued down a side street, I discovered where the beautiful music originated. Vearl Tolbert, a saxophone musician from Tulsa, stood in front of Cities Ice Cream, playing his saxophone to the tunes of cheery pop music. His partner stood next to him on the 6-string bass, rocking out during instrumentals. Further down the block, a friendly competition took place. Eight artists stood on the sidewalk, painting small pieces live. Some painted landscapes and still lifes, while others depicted portraits and animals. The artists had an hour and a half to finish their work, after which the audience would vote on the winner via a QR Code. People walked through the event, stopping to observe the artists blend shadows and flesh out details.
Although I had to leave VIBES after a little over an hour, I still had a chance to experience the energy and culture that its participants brought to the event. If you are interested in art, expression, and live performances, go visit the next VIBES event in downtown Edmond on May 5th.