Galveston Artist Residency Hosts 5th Annual Festival of the Beautiful this Weekend

by Jessica Fuentes March 2, 2023

The Galveston Artist Residency (GAR) has announced the programming schedule for its 5th Annual Festival of the Beautiful.

A photograph of a small crowd of people dressed in costumes walking in a night time parade.

Festival of the Beautiful, 2018

Launched in 2017 by GAR, the Galveston Arts Center, and the Hotel Artist Lofts as a response to the increased ticket prices of Galveston’s Mardi Gras, Festival of the Beautiful is a free event featuring an array of interpretations of beauty. Attendees wear costumes and give out handmade gifts, rather than Mardi Gras beads. GAR describes the festival as “a chance to slow down and look inward.”

A photograph of small handmade gifts received during the Festival of the Beautiful.

Handmade gifts from Festival of the Beautiful, 2018.

Of that first year, Eric Schnell, co-founder and director of GAR, told Glasstire, “I was surprised by how much affection people had for The Festival of the Beautiful. It seemed necessary at the time and maybe it still is.”

The event has shifted and evolved each year. Mr. Schnell said that as the city becomes “increasingly loud and frenetic… the festival seems to be getting quieter and more meditative.” This is the first year the festival will be a day-long event and has been held on a date after the city’s Mardi Gras. 

The festival is family friendly and will take place on Saturday, March 4 from 11 am to 9 pm; it is expected to draw over 200 participants. The day will include a plant workshop and exchange, a film screening, live music, and more. See the full schedule of the day below.

When asked what he was most looking forward to this year, Mr. Schnell said, “I’m excited about the food Benjy Mason is making, his gumbo cauldron is a beautiful tasting thing! Kazumi Tanaka’s seashell stringed instrument and The William Blake choir as well!”

11 am: Native Plant workshop & plant exchange with GHF, Galveston Island Tree Conservancy, and artist Cindee Travis Klement

12 pm: Film Screening – Water Harvester (2022) and Neuro Osmosis (2023) by David Fenster (Tucson, AZ)

1 pm: Meditation in the GAR Gallery with Post Trance Tea Ceremony (Houston)

2 pm: Lunch with Benjy Mason (Houston) and live music by Robert Kuhn (Galveston)

3 pm: William Blake in the style of Allen Ginsberg song tutorial with David Feil

4 pm: Music by Swarming Branch (Austin)

5 pm: Music by Little Mazarn (Austin)

6 pm: Dinner with Benjy Mason (Houston)

7 pm: Music by Future Blondes (Houston)

8 pm: The Burning of the Ark and singing of William Blake in the style of Allen Ginsberg

9 pm: Music by Studded Left (Houston)

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