By Jennifer Seaton
May 3, 2022

Good VIBES return to Edmond

The second season of the monthly art festival VIBES kicked off in April throughout downtown Edmond.
Bison Creek Clothing hosted Amy Foster Jewelry at the season opening of VIBES. (Photo: <a href="https://www.erinraesmith.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Erin Rae Smith Photography</a>)
Bison Creek Clothing hosted Amy Foster Jewelry at the season opening of VIBES. (Photo: Erin Rae Smith Photography)

As Edmond’s VIBES returned in April for a second season, 43 businesses, 44 visual artists and 10 performing artists entertained guests along 15 downtown blocks. These continually growing numbers are a demonstration of the community partnerships and participation that make VIBES special. 

Season one success

VIBES is a program of the Edmond Fine Arts Institute, Edmond’s nonprofit community arts organization. The idea emerged from a brainstorm of local leaders in 2020 seeking to create a new art walk event series with a creative spin.

Former Edmond mayor Patrice Douglas formed the committee of artists, city leaders and business owners to make the vision a reality. The 2021 season included monthly events from April to October centered in downtown Edmond with more than 40 local participating businesses hosting over 50 artists in their spaces.

During the event, participating businesses are paired up with one local visual or performing artist to “house” during the event. Attendees can visit the shops and restaurants, which are often open later for the event, to enjoy the art and get a taste of what downtown Edmond has to offer.

Business owners like Ben Nockels at Commonplace Books have embraced VIBES as a part of Edmond’s growing art culture and expanding revitalization.

“You’ve heard it said that the best way to predict the future is to create it? That’s precisely what VIBES has done by putting on full display what a truly robust, active, and vibrant neighborhood Downtown Edmond can be, will be, and already is in the never-ending process of becoming,” said Nockels. “They’ve painted a picture one night a month that has captured the heart’s affection and the mind’s imagination for what every other night could and should be.”

Ten performers took the streets of downtown Edmond during VIBES along with more than 40 other artists. (Photo: Erin Rae Smith Photography)

The artists and businesses

The 2022 season kicked off in April, bringing more art to the streets and sidewalks of a dozen blocks in the heart of Edmond. Most of the previous year’s participating businesses are back again to host artists and welcome visitors to the monthly event.

Beth Conner said her business, Frenzy Brewing Co., benefits from the connections that VIBES creates.

“The positive impact on Frenzy has been vital for the growth of our business,” said Conner. “VIBES has enabled us to make new connections, foster new relationships and has enabled opportunities for the growth of our business as a community gathering place.”

Several new businesses have joined the 2022 lineup including Edit & Co., a new downtown boutique, and The Fried Taco and Woodward Pizza in the new Ice House Project. Long-standing partners like Othello’s, Silver Leaf Gems, Native Summit, and Bison Creek Clothing are also participating again. 

“The community participation has been great for the artists and the retail stores. We have met and acquired new customers due to VIBES, and it has been a boost to all of Downtown Edmond,” said Beau Lee with Bison Creek. “We are thankful to be a part of it and to the Edmond Fine Arts Institute for all their hard work in creating and promoting it.”

Not only does the event benefit long-standing tenants in downtown Edmond, local artists like Julie Boyd with Nourished Designs are enjoying new connections and growing business as well.

“Art brings people together and strengthens a community’s character. Displaying art in small, locally owned businesses inspires engagement and a feeling of belonging to a community,” said Boyd. “Downtown Edmond has such a unique feeling of a small, supportive community nestled in a thriving, progressive city. It’s the perfect backdrop for a gathering of visual and performing artists.”

VIBES attendees watch live performers at the 2022 season kickoff. (Photo: Erin Rae Smith Photography)

New for 2022

The VIBES Visa Challenge is new for the 2022 season and will take place every month of VIBES. Attendees can pick up a free VIBES Visa Task Card from participating downtown businesses and complete any number of tasks they choose. Tasks include visiting visual artists and businesses, making purchases at any VIBES business or artist, and posting on social media using the hashtag #VIBESVISA. Each completed task equals an entry into the drawing for monthly prize packages including gift cards to downtown businesses, artwork created by VIBES artists, and VIBES merchandise.

The 2022 VIBES season is made possible by Citizens Bank of Edmond, Mercy, Edmond Electric, First Bank & Trust Co., Engel & Volkers The Duncan Group, The Mule, Small Architects, Valor Bank, and the City of Edmond.

Make VIBES a reoccurring event for your first Thursdays of the month and prepare to be entertained while supporting local businesses and artists.

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About Jennifer Seaton

Jennifer Seaton has been the Director of Visit Edmond (also known as Edmond Convention & Visitors Bureau) since July 29, 2019. She is a City of Edmond employee and long-time Edmond resident. Jennifer brings extensive marketing and advertising experience from her 25 years working in the Oklahoma City metro. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Business Development for STAPLEGUN, an advertising agency based in Oklahoma City. She previously worked as the Director of Marketing for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Vice President of Marketing for United Way of Central Oklahoma. She attended Ohio University where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication. Jennifer's goal is to elevate the “Edmond experience” to attract more leisure travelers, tournaments, and business conferences to Edmond.