Keeping the Heat at Midsummer Nights - 405 Magazine

Keeping the Heat at Midsummer Nights

Norman’s Firehouse Art Center celebrates the season by filling two evenings with creative fun for all, especially children – it’s time for Midsummer Nights.


It Fosters Personal Connections To Creativity, Forges Ongoing Bonds Among Members Of Its Community And Is A Fair Amount Of Fun For Visitors Of All Age Brackets – With No Fee Attached.

No wonder the Firehouse Art Center’s Midsummer Nights festival is rounding out its fourth decade with no signs of falling in popularity. Lions Park in Norman is home to the 38th annual creativity showcase in the evening hours of August 21 and 22.

Art in multiple media and musical performances fill the outdoor event, which is expected to draw around 3,500 visitors. In fact, Firehouse director Douglas Shaw Elder says that Midsummer Nights has developed a community of its own over the years: “One of the comments that people tell me every year is that they meet certain people only once a year, and it’s at our festival. One of the reasons they come is to reconnect with friends.” Aside from the camaraderie, other draws include the displays of jury-approved works by more than 25 visual artists, the food vendors, the special kids’ activities and the live performances by local stars Bungalouski, Kierston White, Annie Oakley and Alan Orebaugh & the Stupid Guitar Tricks Band, as well as student performers from Norman school and event partner McMichael Music. “I can’t say enough good things about Wess [McMichael] and our dedicated artists, both on the visual side and the musical side, that come together to make an event like this happen,” raves Elder.

Visitors, especially children, can also engage with their own inner artists through activities like sculpting with aluminum foil, portrait drawing and the popular Children’s Art Wall, making a fresh reappearance. Elder speaks highly of participation and engagement rather than passive observation, saying that “We love sticking to some of our staples that are 100 percent creative without having an end result, meaning there are no kit projects in what we do. Kids don’t step up and say, ‘Make that, I want that one.’ Kids get to step up and we say, ‘What are you going to make?’ On the art wall, our teachers just facilitate, we ask questions; that gets them fully engaged with their narrative. It’s fantastic when we see them filling in the whole composition.”

Admission, including the opportunity to view demonstrations in drawing, painting and sculpture by Firehouse faculty, is free both days, although donations are encouraged. “Individual donations from our community [help] offset the costs to be able to provide free opportunities – not just for adults, but even for the children,” says Elder. “I’ve made the statement before that anytime we go out into the community, we will never charge children to create with us. And I stand by that.”

Browse finished art, watch new pieces come into being, get front-row seats for local musicians and help foster an atmosphere celebrating ongoing creativity across the spectrum of age … these two evenings are a magical time. 

Warm It Up

Form more info, visit or call 329.4523