Last Thursday, members of the Abilene community gathered on Cypress Street in Downtown Abilene for ArtWalk’s CajunFest.
Every second Thursday of the month, The Center for Contemporary Arts presents an art festival on Cypress St. The event brings the community of Abilene, the local artists and businesses owners together typically for a philanthropic cause.
Businesses on Cypress St. participate in each ArtWalk by either staying open or creating a sidewalk table to join the festivities. Business owner Jerry Hendrix, the entrepreneur behind Monk’s Coffee Shop, participates each time ArtWalk happens.
“It is important to bring the downtown community together and to encourage others to join us once a month at ArtWalk,” Hendrix said. “The ArtWalk themes are driven primarily by sponsors. [It] gives us the opportunity to be a part of something without having to create something our self. We are able to join in the festivities and create our own fun in order to add to the events planned by the center.”
On April 10, the theme for the night was CajunFest. ArtWalk hosted an authentic shrimp and crawfish boil from Two Daddy’s Crawfish from Bossier City, La. Tickets were $15 for adults and $8 for children.
Mat Medders, freshman undeclared major from Benton, Ark., went to last week’s CajunFest and has previously attended ArtWalk.
“College students should participate in ArtWalk so that they can experience life in downtown Abilene while also getting to support local artists,” Medders said. “I think it is important for Abilene to include its college students in community events so that they might feel at home, away from home.”
Medders also said ArtWalk provides the opportunity to get to know some of the community’s older members and to be involved and aware of local organizations.”
The proceeds of the event last week went to help raise funds to provide scholarships to the seniors in Abilene who need money for secondary education. Funds raised by the Abilene Education Foundation last year was more than $54,000, with a large sum of that coming from CajunFest.
Student involvement is low but the events offer a chance for ACU students to interact with the Abilene community and learn the art and culture that it has to offer.
Tracy Richardson, junior marketing major from Katy, attended ArtWalk for the first time last week.
“I absolutely loved seeing the community coming together to learn about one another and support one another,” Richardson said. “After all, that’s what a community is all about. The downtown area is the heart of Abilene. There is no other location that would have been as inviting and special as that area for the ArtWalk. It’s part of what makes Abilene unique.”