Big changes mark the 10th annual Arts Trek free family festival at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.  In addition to a new, longer art exhibit, this year, most of the activities are indoors.

“The bad weather last year encouraged us to change our format,” said festival organizer Donna Merkt, museum curator of education. “Almost all of our free hands-on art activities are inside.”

In addition to seeing the more than 30 indoor art displays, visitors can work with event Helping Hands sponsors to make art; inside activities include: free face painting with Alisha R. Weston, clay exploration with Hailey and Garrett Black and OBU Fine Arts, creating a 3-D dog mask with Canine Companions for Independence, creating a car magnet with Chris Rick State Farm Insurance, making whirly gigs with Pottawatomie County OHCE, coloring with Visit Shawnee, Inc., learning to weave with Julie Marks Blackstone, designing a car with Oklahoma Natural Gas a division of ONE Gas, creating crazy glasses with Shawnee Lions Club, creating an origami boat with Thick Descriptions, decorating terra cotta pots with Oklahoma Sierra Club, making a spirit stick with OBU Admissions, designing door hangers with Shawnee Public Library, learning to spin yarn with Melanie Jackson, playing a string instrument and with Thresa Swadley, Oklahoma Strings, and OBU Music Preparatory department.  Also available for a small fee are henna tattoos by Jigisha Patel, quick-sketch portraits by Sheryl Cozad, and caricatures by Patrick Riley.

If the weather turns nicer than expected, the outdoors will also be a fun place for families. Blue Zones of Pottawatomie County is providing yard games, A Mirage Dance Company is hosting a hula hoop area (for grownups too!) and Little Dixie Chuck Wagon will teach visitors about chuck wagon cooking, and pass out samples of cobbler.  Forgotten Treasures Animal Rescue will have kittens available for cuddling and adoption, and will be making cat and dog puppets. 

Several fantastic performances are slated for Arts Trek.  Performances inside the Sarkeys Performing Arts Center include: OBU’s bell choir--the University Ringers (11:00 am), red dirt music by StumbleEast (12:00 pm), Middle-Eastern dance by A Mirage Dance Company (1:00 pm), strings and bag pipe duo Ian Briggs and Tony Adams (2:00 pm), Irish dance by All About Irish School of Dance (2:45 pm), and big-band songs you know and love by the Grey Wolves Jazz Band (4:00 pm).  Thresa Swadley and Christopher Contreras, as well as Swadley’s string students, will be performing inside the Museum’s Wood Gallery in the morning and afternoon.  Tours of the Egyptian collections will also be available in that gallery.

Weather permitting, the Knights of Canterbury and OKC Joust club will be providing public jousting performances at 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm. In between performances, their unicorn will be available for rides!  Additionally, Br. Isidore of St. Gregory’s Abbey will provide a tour of the abbey church and stained glass at 1:30 pm.  Finally, several performers will play encore performances in the courtyard, where you can paint to the music, helping create a community painting dedicated to the memory of Joel Carmichael.

Food will also be plentiful at Arts Trek, including gluten-free, low-carb, vegetarian, and vegan options.  Healthy Hippo food truck will be back with grilled burritos, panini sandwiches, and salads. Amici in Movimento food truck is offering scratch made Italian sandwiches and sodas. Sooner Kettle Corn will have a variety of tasty popcorn. St. John’s Lutheran Kitchen Crew will provide a pulled-pork sandwich meal with chips and a pickle, bottled water and canned sodas.    Klondike Craig’s Handcrafted Sodas will have hand-crafted sodas including root beer, cream soda, orange cream and black cherry, as well as a variety of teas. 

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is located on the OBU Green campus at 1900 W. MacArthur St. in Shawnee.  Arts Trek is presented by the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art and Visit Shawnee, Inc.  This exhibit is sponsored by: BancFirst, Chris Rick State Farm Agent, and Junior Service League of Shawnee.  In-kind sponsors include: Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma Baptist University, OBU Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, and the City of Shawnee.

All performances and most activities are free. Reported activities and scheduled events are subject to change.  For more information about Arts Trek, including the event map and schedule, please visit