The Delta Arts Festival is set for June 4-5 in Newport.

The festival is four free events combined into one – the Delta Visual Arts Show, the Delta Festival of Books, the Delta Musicians Showcase, and the Delta Silver Screen Film Fest.

Here’s a rundown of this weekend’s scheduled events. Visit or call the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce at 870-523-1009 for more information:

Visual Arts Show

The Delta Visual Arts Show will feature 200 artists from over 75 Arkansas communities on hand to show and sell their work. In addition to the visual arts booths, free art workshops will be held for children and adults. Artist booths will be located in six buildings downtown and one large tent on Front Street. Over 30,000 pieces of art will be on display over the weekend. The event is free plus free parking is available throughout the downtown area with walking access to all of the venues.

The majority of the artists attending the show will be classified as Fine Arts, whose work is primarily painting, photography, sculpture, and glass work. The fine artists in the show have won numerous awards and are some of the most talented artists in the state. Artists from three neighboring states will be participating as well.

The show also includes both functional artists and craft artists. The Delta Visual Arts Show opens at noon on Friday, June 4, and runs until 6 p.m. The Visual Art Show re-opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, and remains open until 5 p.m.

Festival of Books

The Delta Festival of Books will include 35 authors on hand to autograph and sell their books. In addition to the literary booths, authors will conduct 15-minute readings from their works on Friday and Saturday at the outdoor Lit Stage.

Christian authors will bring a variety of work ranging from Christian fiction to devotional books. Dianne Cox Barnes (Bryant), Mary Cambron-Collard (Poplar Bluff, MO), Kathy Parish (Judsonia), Marla Bennett (Batesville), Teresia Duncan (Jonesboro), and Shelia Trextor (Blytheville) will read from their books Friday on the Lit Stage. Charles Graham (Dermott) will be featured reading from his book No Back Doors: The Charles Graham Story on Saturday.

A number of non-fiction authors will read during the Festival on Friday including: Larry Burchfield (Searcy), Tom Hale (Wynne), and Haley Deck (Paragould). More will follow on Saturday with readings from George Jared (Hardy), Kat Robinson (Little Rock), and Cindy Smith (MeGehee). Becky Williams (Little Rock) will be accompanied by some of the ladies whose stories she shared in her book Sowing the Seeds of Justice: Courage, Persistence and Faith of African-American Women in the Delta.

Romance will fill the air on Friday afternoon as Annie England Noblin (West Plains, Mo.), Patricia Blake (Jonesboro), Mable Prunty (Jonesboro) and Mandy Lawson (Higginson) read from some of their works.

Young people will delight in listening to the fantastic children’s authors at the Festival read from their work. Bonnie Best (Marmaduke) will read on Friday afternoon, followed by Carol Kick (Pocahontas), Donna Nelson (Kensett), Patty Snipes (Little Rock), and Rachel Shankles (Bismark) on Saturday. Newport native Rebecca Ann Ivy (Sherwood) will read from her new book Baby Bear’s Sleepy Time Adventure.

Poets will reign on Saturday afternoon with readings from Catherine Buercklin (Conway), and R.J. Looney (Little Rock). Several of the authors at the show will also have poetry works available at their booths. One highlight of the Festival will be the first Delta Youth Poetry Contest where young poets have submitted original poems to win recognition and ribbons. Their poems will be read on Saturday afternoon.

The fiction authors at the show will feature Vicki Olsen (North Little Rock), Tayla Boerner (Fayetteville), James Babb (DeQueen), Gerald Darnell (Sanford, FL), and S.R. Crawley (Trumann). Rhona Weaver (Little Rock) will read from her book A Noble Calling: An FBI Yellowstone Adventure.

The Festival will wrap up with the Delta Youth Short Story Contest. Young people have submitted short stories of both fiction and non-fiction that will be read on the Lit Stage. The goal of both the Short Story and the Poetry Contests is to nurture the next generation of great writers from Arkansas.

Delta Musicians Showcase

Music will fill the air in downtown Newport as 31 concerts highlight the Delta Musicians Showcase, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Friday with J.R. and the Hymntimes (Lafe) performing traditional southern gospel followed by Artis Roush (Paragould) bringing his popular country gospel to the Gospel Gazebo on Front Street in Newport.

Concerts will continue with The Gravel Yard Bluegrass Band (Bluegrass – Conway) and Pamela Hopkins (Fun Party Country – Little Rock) gracing the Terry Scoggins Memorial Stage. Mallory Everett (Country – McCrory) and Chris Davis (Singer/Songwriter – Batesville) will perform at Frankie’s Place, while Steve Boyster (Rock, Country, and Blues – Clarendon) and Adria Hyde (Singer/Songwriter – Jonesboro) will delight everyone at the Old Gas Station Bar and Grill. Americana is on the menu at the back dock of Postmaster Spirits with the Harrisong Trio (Americana – Central Arkansas) and Route 358 (Singer/Songwriter – Fayetteville).

On Saturday five stages will feature performers. The Gospel Gazebo will see The Grateful Impressions of Jerry Garcia (Rock – Des Arc) and Chenoa Summers (Indie Pop – Jonesboro). In the courtyard at Frankie’s Place, Nancy Browning’s (Jazz – Judsonia) jazz saxophone, Erin Walters (Rock, Country, and Blues – Sulphur Rock), Danny Rains (Rock and Pop – Little Rock) and Mark Edgar Stuart (Singer/Songwriter – Memphis) will compliment the hot food and cold beverages available. Ed Casper (Rock Oldies – Batesville) starts the music at the Old Gas Station Bar and Grill with rock and roll oldies played on the accordion. He will be followed by Effron White (Singer/Songwriter – Mount Juliet, Tenn.), John Parks (Rock, Country, and Blues – Batesville), the Fonky Donkey (Delta Country Blues – Little Rock), and Bailey Bigger (Folk – Marion). The Old Gas Station’s upscale grill and beverages will be available throughout the day to enjoy along with the music.

The final two stages will feature some great bands. Postmaster Spirits’ dock will rock to MonsterBoy Lives (Rock and Alternative – North Little Rock), Chains and Lanes (Southern Rock and Country – Newport), The Chad Marshall Band (Delta Blues – Hot Springs), Boot Bailey and the Boys (Classic Rock and Classic Country – Central Arkansas), and the All N Band (Rock, Country and Blues – Little Rock). The craft distillery also features food, ghost tours, and Newport produced spirits. The Terry Scoggins Memorial Stage will host Tequila Mockingbird (Rock and Country – Possum Grape), Queen Anne’s Revenge (Rock and Alternative – Jonesboro), Kingdom Falls (Hard Rock – Mountain Home), H3ADCANNON (Electropop, Rap, and Punk – North Little Rock), and Exit from Dark (Psychedelic Rock – Malvern).

Three free workshops will be held during the Delta Musicians Showcase: “Excavating a Song,” by Effron White, “Harmonica Techniques for Grades 3 through 12” by David Ashcroft (The Reverend Blues), and “Voice Techniques for Teens and Adults,” by Casey Sparks. The first 20 young people to the harmonic workshop receive a free harmonica.

Those attending can bring a a chair or blanket, stay at one stage, or roam from stage to stage during the weekend. Admission to all concerts is free and parking is free throughout the downtown area.

Silver Screen Film Fest

The Delta Silver Screen Film Fest will debut this weekend in Newport. Working in partnership with the Arkansas Cinema Society, the festival will be screening nine Arkansas related films in the Jane Parnell Performance Hall at 422 Front St. The films will celebrate the talents of Arkansas directors, actors, and screenwriters over the two-day period.

Another feature of the Delta Silver Screen Film Fest will be a Filmmaker’s Workshop conducted by accomplished Director James Cotten and Screenwriter and Producer Amber Lindley. They will share their insight into how to create and market your film. Immediately after the workshop on Friday will be a screening of their feature film “The Painted Woman.” Following the film both James and Amber will participate in a panel discussion of the film.

Friday will be devoted to short films by Arkansas directors. Films to be screened include “A Promising Voice,” by Obed Lamy of Fayetteville; “Becoming Riley Benton,” by Chase Hartsell of Hot Springs; “The Bench,” by Bronson Crabtree of Little Rock; “Going Viral,” by Johsua Charperrin Woodard of Jonesboro; and “Pillow” by Joshua H. Miller and Miles B. Miller of Little Rock. Following the short film screening several of the directors will be on hand for a panel discussion of their films.

The Signature Film for Friday evening will be “Antiquities,” by Director Daniel Campbell of Haskell. “Antiquities” also features Newport native Mary Steenburgen. The film will screen Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday will be reserved for feature-length films. “Men and Women of Distinction: Mike Beebe” by Kathryn Tucker of Little Rock will screen in the morning. A wonderful Arkansas travel documentary, “Make Room for Pie” by Director Larry Foley of Fayetteville and Writer Kat Robinson of Little Rock will screen in the early afternoon. The Delta Silver Screen Film Fest’s final film will be “The Painted Woman” by Director James Cotten of Fort Smith and Los Angeles, Calif., and Screenwriter Amber Lindley of Springdale. The Fest will close with a panel discussion with directors and writers of the feature length films.

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