Unexpected Festival Draws Crowds, Brings Business To Downtown Fort Smith

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Artists wrapped up the Unexpected Project in downtown Fort Smith Sunday (Sept. 13), but the crowds their work attracted continue to help local businesses.

Stephanie Sharp, a bartender at Hero's, said the murals revitalized downtown.

"Downtown has been suffering for the past few years," she said. "So with something new and exciting, it just brings more people down here for the local business and for us."

Fonda Grant, owner of the consignment store Second Time Around, said people as far as Tulsa and Missouri came into her store because they were in town to see the murals.

“It was unexpected,” Grant said. “We had no idea it was coming even as a business owner downtown.”

Grant said she was surprised by the business the festival brought into her store even more.

"It increased our business probably 25-30% in the last week or so," she said. "I think it is going to continue because as more people want to come and walk the avenue, you know, they will see our shop and they will want to see what all we carry."

Both Sharp and Grant said they are excited to see the city doing something to make downtown appealing to all ages.

Artists completed eleven murals over the course of a week. For a map of the murals, click here.