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Pop Up Oxford preps for second year of celebrating local arts and culture

OXFORD, Miss. – The second-annual Pop Up Oxford, a week-long event designed to highlight Oxford’s cultural scene, will kick off this Saturday, Jan. 20 and run through the 27.

There will be several events under the umbrella of Pop Up Oxford, including Hotel Hop, Shop Up Oxford, a songwriting contest and more.

The event is hosted by Visit Oxford, in conjunction with the Day for Art and the eighth annual Fiber Arts Festival, both of which are spearheaded by Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. Katie Kaiser, Communications and Partnerships Manager for Visit Oxford, says those who plan to attend will have access to exclusive hotel deals and personal interactions with several local artisans.

“On [our website], there is the full schedule of events, details, including descriptions,” Kaiser said. “Each event offers a unique Oxford cultural experience. If you’re from out of town, participating hotels are offering a multi-day discount when you mention “Pop Up Oxford” when booking. It’s a great time to enjoy our hotels right now, as this is a slower tourist time in Oxford.”

The event begins with Small Hall’s season kickoff and songwriting contest from 7 to 10 p.m. Small Hall, a program of YAC, is an intimate concert series located in McDavid & Associates law office at 1109 Van Buren Ave. Shows are designed to give audience members a chance to interact with artists on a personal level.

Wayne Andrews, YAC Director, says the songwriting contest takes Small Hall to the next level.

“People have purchased tickets to this event from as far away as New York and Georgia,” Andrews said. “We’re going to have accomplished artists as well as some newcomers in our top ten.”

The top prize, Andrews says, is a spot in an episode of Thacker Mountain Radio Hour. There will also be cash prizes available for participants.

“The arts groups in Oxford collaborate,” he said. “They’re trying to offer opportunities for people, and using their platform to promote live music in Oxford.”

Hotel Hop, an event that gives guests an opportunity to tour hotels around the square and attend food and wine tastings, will be held Sunday night from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are limited, and Kaiser says those planning to attend should purchase their tickets as soon as possible.

“Each event will be different crowd sizes,” she said. “The ticketed events have limited venue space.”

On Monday evening, Pop Up Oxford will partner with Southern Foodways Alliance for a Cocktail Book Party at Big Bad Breakfast from 6:30 to 8 p.m. All the dishes served will come from the “Southern Foodways Alliance Guide to Cocktails” book, and the night’s special guest will be author Sarah Camp Milam. Tickets to the cocktail party are $15.

Tuesday will be jam-packed with events, including the kickoff for Oxford Art Crawl at the Powerhouse. The main event, however, will be the Day for Art party, which will be held at the Powerhouse from 8 to 10 p.m.

Day for Art is YAC’s answer to recently removed state funding for several arts and volunteer programs in Oxford. The event will feature live performances from local artists, as well as the Oxford Art Awards, which people can vote on by visiting the YAC webpage. One of the most appealing things, Andrews says, is the chance to win a year’s worth of arts entertainment in exchange for a $10 donation.

At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24, event goers will have the chance to see a demonstration from renowned tapestry artist and rug weaver Mary Zicafoose at the University Museum. At 7:30 p.m., “The Sound of Music” national tour will perform at the Ford Center.

Thursday will kickoff the eighth annual Fiber Arts Festival, with a preview at 3 p.m. and opening reception at 5:30 at the Powerhouse. The Fiber Arts Festival will run from Jan. 25 through 28 and will feature a variety of artisans working in different forms of fiber art. In addition to the artwork itself, Andrews says the most appealing thing about the festival is the 28 discounted courses offered.

“If you say ‘Fiber Arts,’ most people are going to think you mean quilting or something your grandmother did,” Andrews said. “What I see in the classes are people who want to be immersed in something, take it away and do their own thing with it. It’s a holiday getaway for friends to take classes, and then grab a nice dinner and glass of wine afterwards.”

Andrews says two classes are already sold out, with others filling up fast, so those wanting to attend are encouraged to purchase tickets as soon as possible.

In conjunction with the Fiber Arts Festival, Pop Up Oxford will host a live demonstration with artist Mary Zicafoose from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Powerhouse on Friday, Jan. 26. There will also be a reception for the festival at Treehouse Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m.

“We are so pleased that our eighth annual Oxford Fiber Arts Festival is being offered as part of Pop Up Oxford,” Andi Bedsworth, Fiber Arts Festival coordinator, said in a news release. “With 16 vendors from eight states, 28 classes, children’s activities, lectures and receptions offered to celebrate traditional and modern fiber arts, there is sure to be something appealing to all ages.”

Pop Up Oxford will conclude on Saturday, Jan. 27, with tours of Splinter Creek development in Taylor from noon to 4 p.m., and a 7:30 performance from Havana, Cuba-based Malpaso Dance Company at the Ford Center.

Pop Up Oxford is an event that Kaiser says is only going to get bigger and better, and she encourages people from Oxford and those visiting town for the week to attend.

“Expect to have a deeper appreciation for Oxford’s unique and rich cultural scene,” Kaiser said. “This is an annual event, so I also would love to see visitors enjoy themselves so much that they plan to attend Pop Up Oxford again.”

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