Art lovers, mark your calendars for Saturday, February 23: It's Art Night Austin, one of the city's most beloved high-energy, multi-venue events that showcases a diverse selection of art, music and culinary talent around our creative city.
Art Night Austin is also the most popular annual fundraiser for Art Alliance Austin, with this year's event marking its 10th anniversary. For nearly 60 years, these champions of public art have been dedicated to engaging people with art, creating community benefits that ensure art and creativity have a place at the core of Austin’s identity.
Art Night Austin gives art fans a chance to experience work ranging from painting, photography and digital interactive performance to pencil drawings, sculpture and vintage neon. You’ll find works created by international, national and Austin-based artists exhibited in temporary spaces, emerging galleries and established institutions.
Each space's work is curated alongside a favorite local eatery, select beverages and sounds, offering an experience unique to the specific venue. Ticket buyers will receive an event wristband, which will grant them entry into each of the venues. A shuttle service will also be offered between all seven locations helping to create a completely immersive cultural experience. A fan favorite of Art Night Austin is the after party that follows.
With its 10 year anniversary, this year's event spans a broader range of work over more neighborhoods than before, from North Central to Downtown’s 2nd Street District and South Austin. It crosses Austin’s ever-evolving urban core rooting each experience in place, reflecting the particular neighborhood’s culture at this moment in time.
"With a city adding over 50,000 new residents a year, it becomes increasingly more important we understand the critical role art plays in the city’s identity," says Meredith Powell, the Executive Director of Art Alliance Austin since 2005. "The spaces were chosen to share insight into Austin’s dynamic creative culture, and more specifically, how the art being exhibited, performed and created both defines and reflects the neighborhood and thus our city. We are not Austin without our creatives and cultural spaces."
The programs introduced and expanded through Powell’s direction — including and a renowned series of temporary public art installations — have produced over $8 million of direct economic impact on the City of Austin between 2005 and 2012, while showing significant growth. Under her leadership, the Alliance has launched award-winning programs and initiatives that have propelled the 56-year-old non-profit Women’s Art Guild of the Texas Fine Arts Association into the forward-thinking, dynamic arts organization it is today.
Austin is historically a city very supportive of its creative sector, which generated over $4.3 billion in economic activity in 2010. Powell believes that events like Art Night Austin create a conduit for discovery often leading to commercial activity within the art spaces, restaurants, neighborhoods as well as the city. "Commercial activity, financial support and participation is critical to the success of our cultural ecosystem. If we value the artists and creatives that make Austin such an innovative and interesting city of which we all benefit, we must also do our part to support the system that makes it all possible."
Our part, according to Powell, is participation. Even with financial investment and a strong infrastructure, participation of the citizens provides a vital third dimension. "Ultimately, art, culture and creativity have to engage with the mass of the people if it is going to become a dynamic force in the life of the city. Austin’s rapid urbanization makes it imperative we integrate Austin’s culture of creativity into public life. This investment is as much about nurturing Austin’s authentic self as it is creating an integrated and sustainable model for economic growth and prosperity."
Tickets are available for purchase at artallianceaustin.org for $75 and 2013 VIP Collector’s badges for $195. Collector’s badges allow you to enjoy the full 2013 season of experiences and exclusive invitations. For more information on the venue and artists, check the Art Alliance website.