By Don Lowe

Re-branded as the Ottawa County Arts Festival (OCAF) after previously being known as Mural Fest 66, the sixth edition of this much-anticipated event is set to take place April 27 in Miami, Oklahoma. 

Ottawa County Arts Festival Director Callie Cortner says, “Miami’s Mural Fest 66 originated in 2017 when the Miami Arts & Humanities Council’s board of directors sought to invite professional artists to town for a day that’s dedicated to celebrating arts and culture in the community. 

“Since then, more than 40 murals have adorned walls in Miami, and there are intentions to expand this festival to other parts of the county in upcoming years.” 

Cortner celebrates the festival’s positive impact on Miami and all of Ottawa County. “This is a fantastic opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate our diverse history,” she says, noting the special focus on the Route 66 Cultural District. 

In describing the process specific to the murals, Cortner explains, “Artists must be willing to work within the theme of Historical Route 66 but will be free to express their interpretation of this in their individual styles.” 

One key component of this festival is the third annual benefit car show. Cortner says, “It’s organized by Brian Cortner from Standing Water Kennels in Commerce, Oklahoma. As a passionate car enthusiast, Brian has restored numerous cars over the years and takes great pleasure in supporting the community. 

“He leads a team of three judges who meticulously assess the cars based on body, interior, engine, paint, tires and wheels, while rating each category on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest. The proceeds from entry fees and T-shirt sales will contribute to Dolly Cortner believes this is an attractive event and says, “The festival provides a platform for local artists to showcase their work, while giving them exposure and recognition within the community. By supporting small businesses and artisans, this event fosters a sense of connection and community pride. 

“This not only benefits the artists themselves, but it enriches the local cultural scene, while creating a dynamic and diverse environment that appeals to both tourists and residents.

Cortner is proud to be a part of it all and she says, “My passion for helping others shines through as I work with the planning committee to help create an inclusive and engaging environment where individuals from all walks of life come together to appreciate and participate in various artforms. 

“I love that we are not only promoting cultural enrichment but also fostering a sense of community pride and collaboration. This festival gives me a chance to help make a lasting impact on the community by bridging gaps, fostering creativity and promoting a sense of togetherness.” 

Ottawa County Arts Festival Fast Facts 

When: Saturday, April 27 

Miscellaneous Details: Food trucks and vendors available beginning at 10 a.m. Musical and little local performers scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Muralists will commence their artwork Friday evening, April 26, and continue throughout the day Saturday, April 27. The festival concludes at 3 p.m. 

Mural Locations: Artists will be painting near the Route 66 Gateway to Oklahoma arch situated on South Main in Miami, Oklahoma. Woody’s, a beloved local diner, recently re-opened and offered a sizeable wall for murals, along with the nearby B&B Auto building facing Route 66. Additionally, The Donkey’s Den, a new establishment, has a primed wall awaiting artwork for the festival.

Artists: Five to nine artists are selected by a committee based on their application information and portfolio quality. A limited number of applicants who are current or past residents of Ottawa County will be selected to paint on a wall designated for local artists. Selected artists must submit a color rendering of their mural design for approval at least 14 days prior to the festival (April 13, 2024). 

Other Activities: Inspyral Circus’ Stilt Walkers & Strolling Performers, large outdoor games, a small train ride, face painting and balloon art. Local bands Jahayla Overton from 10 a.m to noon and Left of Center 1-3 p.m. Also planning to have various health activities for educational purposes. 


Car Show Registration & T-Shirt Pre-Orders: 

More Information: Contact Callie Cortner at 918.961.0077 or email [email protected].