Preying Mantis Arts Festival

Nathan McCray stands on a stage that will be used during the Preying Mantis Arts Festival, April 15.

Artist Nathan McCray to host second-annual grass roots arts, music festival, April 15

Nathan McCray will host the second annual Preying Mantis Arts Festival, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., April 15.

“It’s basically a group art sale to get the community out to see there is an arts community in this area and help the artists market and sell their work,” he said. “It’s artists, musicians and performance artists coming together. All the profits go to the artist. It’s about getting the community to support the local arts and recognize that you don’t have to go to Houston, Austin or Dallas to buy hand-made art.”

“Likewise, we’ve got a thriving music scene in this area.”

McCray has been hosting arts festivals on his property for several years.

“We should have a good variety of types of art — ceramics, organite, jewelry, painting, sculpture, wood carving, — a little bit of everything,” he said.

Organite is energy devices with copper coils that pick up earth energy and regulate it, McCray said, adding that they are good for plants.

There will also be a Surrealist fashion show, as well as a costume contest, so visitors are encouraged to come dressed up, but it is not a requirement, McCray said. 

Lamar art students will be selling T-shirts, and there will also be a drag show.

“I am building a catwalk so people can strut their stuff,” he said, with a laugh.

The event Facebook page will have a full list of the performers and vendors.

The last Preying Mantis festival had a Surrealist theme because the animal was the icon for the early Surrealists, McCray said.

“But this year is going to be ‘no brow,’ in the sense that there’s ‘high brow’ and low brow’ art — but with preying mantis, anything goes,” he said. “it’s kind of a free for all to see what you can come up with. It should be really fun.”

Nathan McCray

McCray’s festivals grew from a grass roots desire to have a place for artists and musicians to have a community festival, and as such, the events are laid back and welcoming for all.

“Artists are working with their hands and it’s a community coming together to create an event,” he said. “It isn’t a gallery space, it is outdoors, so it has that old fairground-type feel to it. It’s kind of an outdoor art market.”

McCray said the festival is good for all ages.

“I may have a wall for (kids) to paint on,” he said. “One of the events in the past they had started painting one so we’ll probably just pick up from there and keep going with it.”

Grace Anthony will be selling raffle tickets to help with her leukemia treatments, McCray said.

“So come out and buy a ticket to help her out,” he said.

McCray said he expects anywhere from a dozen to 20 artists to have booths, as well as variety of musical acts and performers.

“The call is out for artists and vendors to participate, and people can come and show up the morning of the festival to set up,” he said. “There’s plenty of space, there’s not going to be a problem as far as running out of room for vendors.”

Cost for vendors is $15, which offsets the cost of fliers and promotion, McCray said.

“It just pitches in and helps pay for it — but not much,” he said with a laugh.

“Everybody come out and enjoy the festival — it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page, call 409-880-5522, or email .

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