Connie Kuehl, executive director of the Killeen Conference and Civic Center, was exhausted on Monday.
Kuehl worked around the clock over the weekend to make the Take 190 West Festival a success, and she said the results were worth it. Kuehl said the fifth annual art show was the biggest yet.
“It is hard to get an exact number because people were coming and going throughout the event on Saturday, but I’d say we had over 2,000 people,” Kuehl said.
Kuehl said the artists who participated were as happy as she was with the size of the show.
“The artists and the authors were happy, and if they were happy, you know they were selling,” she said.
Ted Ellis, a prominent artist at the festival, said he was “blown away” by the event. Ellis has been a professional artist for 23 years, including work for corporate giants like Disney, Exxon and Coca-Cola. Ellis was impressed by the economic and educational potential of the festival.
“It is quite a little jewel,” Ellis said. “I think when word gets out, it could be one of the top festivals in the country.”
Ellis said the magnitude of the festival was something he normally only sees in a “big, metropolitan city.” He said the festival’s programming was actually better than what he sees at festivals in much larger cities.
“Connie did an exceptional job of programming,” Ellis said. “Connie was there before I arrived, and she was there when I left. The community has to recognize her high level of production.”
Kuehl and other event organizers hope the festival’s success will make an even bigger step forward possible.
Jan Anderson, dean of the central campus at Central Texas College, helped get Ellis to participate in the event. She said its success could help draw more big names and possibly corporate sponsorship in the future.
“(Ellis) was a great catch for us,” she said. “He has a lot of contacts in the corporate world, and he told us he would help us with corporate sponsorship.”