Information contained in this article courtesy of Wichita Festivals Inc.'s January 26, 2018, press release.


Presentation at Emprise Bank includes announcement of the Riverfest 2018 Artist-in-Residence and new events

January 26, 2018—WICHITA, Kan.—Wichita Festivals, Inc. unveiled the official artwork for Riverfest 2018, introduced the artist who designed it and announced initial festival news at a press event today at Emprise Bank, sponsor of the artwork contest.

Sponsoring the Riverfest poster artwork contest and hosting the reveal has become an annual tradition that we really look forward to,” said Emprise Bank Chairman and CEO Matt Michaelis. “The energy and excitement surrounding the poster reveal shows how important Riverfest is to our community, and with so many great local artists the winning design continues to be exceptional year after year.”

Joe Worley, 2018 Riverfest Artwork Contest Winner, pictured with Matt Michaelis, Emprise Bank Chairman and CEO

Wichita-based artist Joe Worley collected a check for $3,500 for his winning design, a creative depiction of the jacket worn by Admiral Windwagon Smith, the official ambassador of Riverfest.

Worley was inspired by Admiral Windwagon Smith's jacket.

“I love to create and share my creations with the world,” said Worley. “Having my art selected to be the imagery for this year’s Riverfest is a truly awesome and humbling experience.”

The poster, sponsored by Docuplex, serves as an invitation to the largest community celebration in the state of Kansas: Riverfest, set for June 1-9. The art will be featured in promotional materials. The button designs have a nautical theme, with an old-fashioned ship’s steering wheel on the adult button and an anchor on the child’s button.

A Riverfest button allows admission for all nine days of the festival. Adult buttons (ages 13 and up) for Riverfest are $10, with an early-bird price of $7 when purchased by online presale now at or in person April 9-May 6. The price for the popular child’s button (ages 6-12) will be $3 through May 6 and $5, starting May 7.

“Joe’s art cleverly captures the Admiral’s look and Riverfest’s spirit, beckoning everyone to, ‘Come one … Come all!’,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, Wichita Festivals’ president and CEO. “What a perfect theme for this festival, which will be packed with homey traditions, charity benefits, diverse performing arts and high-profile headliners everyone can enjoy. Riverfest, our community’s signature event for 47 years, is shaping up to have a great 2018.”

While in the art-filled atrium of Emprise Bank, Riverfest organizers also announced this year’s Artist-in-Residence, JooYoung Choi, who creates playful and fantastical worlds filled with flowers, dinosaurs, puppets, and more.

“We are thrilled to have an artist engage with attendees for the whole festival,” said Kate Van Steenhuyse, CEO and co-founder of Harvester Arts, which has partnered with Wichita Festivals on the artist-in-residence program since 2015. “JooYoung is envisioning an expansive installation that will be glimpsed in the parade and continue for all nine days, with festival-goers interacting with her sculptures, creating along with her, and enjoying the fantasy world she’ll create on the festival grounds.”

The 47th festival will feature traditional favorites, such as the Capitol Federal Fireworks Finale, set for closing night after Spirit AeroSystems’ Rockin’ on the River concert. The Kansas Health Foundation River Run is on June 2. Popular events, including the Hiland Dairy Ice Cream Social, Safelite AutoGlass Sundown Parade, CNH Industrial Buckaroo/Buckarette Rodeo and Goodwill Cajun Food Fest, will also return.

New events and elements include a new Riverfest mobile app, sponsored by Westar Energy and developed by Aloompa; Fest Quest sponsored by Meritrust, a scavenger hunt-style game with a $1,000 prize, designed to encourage attendees to explore the festival; Kid Fest, indoor fun for the younger set; Dinosaur Day with Field Station Dinosaurs; and world-class pogo stick action with X-Pogo, sponsored by Vype magazine, APT and Motor Watch. Teens Got Talent contest, STEAM City and Stock Tank Races are expanding, and WichiTalks, featuring lightning presentations, similar to mini-TED talks, will take place at the festival.

The Celebrations for a Cause program will return, giving people the chance to buy $5 buttons, which Festivals donates to service organizations, so that more citizens can be included in Riverfest.

Worley, the winning artist, is a freelance designer and illustrator, and a member of Brickmob, a Wichita-based artist collective active in the community. He has been drawing and creating ever since he could pick up a pencil. His first sketchbook took the form of a school-issued day planner. He attended Wichita Northwest High School, Butler Community College, and Wichita State University, where he graduated from the graphic design program. He has worked at several local design companies.

He engages in logo design, digital illustration, video game art, sprite animation and the occasional tattoo. He also enjoys oil painting and doing caricatures in Old Town Square. Notable examples of his art include the Wichita State University challenge coins given to all WSU graduates, which he designed while a student there, and the “Maker Madness” mural that adorns the south side of The Workroom on Cleveland Street between 1st and Douglas. Commissioned under the banner of Brickmob, the mural was designed by Worley, and painted with the help of the Brickmob crew of community members during the Douglas Design District’s Avenue Art Days mural crawl.

A team of design professionals judged the competition on Dec. 19 and selected the winning design from twenty-seven submissions. Representatives from Emprise Bank and Wichita Festivals presented Worley with the $3,500 award for his winning design.

The much-anticipated Riverfest 2018 concert line-up will be released on March 1 via Facebook, Twitter and Riverfest’s many media partners. Discounted early-bird registration for the Kansas Health Foundation River Run races has begun and will continue through Feb. 28.

Wichita Festivals, Inc. is a non-profit organization with the purpose of creating diverse community celebrations for the Wichita community. The primary events produced by Wichita Festivals, Inc. are Riverfest (June 1-9, 2018) and Autumn & Art at Bradley Fair (September 14-16, 2018). For more information about Wichita Festivals or its events, contact Teri Mott.

A digital press kit containing the 2018 artwork, more about the artist, and this press release is available at