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Art City Austin celebrates local art scene with weekend fest and block party

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Austin Photo Set: News_Alicia Vega_art city austin_april 2012_1
Last year's Art City Austin. Photo by Alicia Vega
Austin Photo Set: News_Alicia Vega_art city austin_april 2012_10
Last year's Art City Austin.   Photo by Alicia Vega
Austin Photo Set: News_Alicia Vega_art city austin_april 2012_6
Last year's Art City Austin. Photo by Alicia Vega
Austin Photo Set: News_Alicia Vega_art city austin_april 2012_1
Austin Photo Set: News_Alicia Vega_art city austin_april 2012_10
Austin Photo Set: News_Alicia Vega_art city austin_april 2012_6

Austin loves its artists, and artists love Austin. Locals can see just how cozy this love affair is when Art Alliance Austin hosts the Art City Austin festival this weekend. Actually, festival might not be the preferred nomenclature, because Art City Austin is more interested in being a big block party that connects the community with the artists that call it home.

A lot of action will be packed into the confines of Cesar Chavez Street and the 2nd Street District: an art fair of works from all over the country, the People’s Gallery at City Hall, food trailers, beer and cocktails, and live music. Dragging the kids to anything art related is usually a chore, but Art City Austin will have interactive projects for the young ones to keep them well entertained while the grownups sip on some Real Ale.

The giant downtown party serves as part of a larger effort by Art Alliance Austin to connect the community with the local artists that contribute to Austin's unique voice. Monique Capanelli, principal and head designer at Articulture Designs, thinks that Art City is attractive to anyone with either a basic interest in art or a desire to collect it.

“This is an incredible way for locals to experience the art community,” says Capanelli. “You don't have to be an of art buff to have a great time. It's simply an incredible festival, and there just happens to be so much art to see. But for the art collector, it's a rare time to have national, international, and local artists come to you… Whether you're an art newbie or an art critic, it's just invigorating to get outside of the confines of a white-walled gallery and breathe in the art.”

Art City Austin not only brings the people and the artists together; it's also a grand showcase of the impact that Art Alliance Austin has in helping local artists to share the visions with full support. Andrew Danziger is the owner of Hatch Workshop, a collaborative workshop and store for furniture craftsmen. He explains how Art Alliance Austin helped to commission one of the workshop’s latest ideas as a public art installation.

“This year, the crew from Hatch Workshop is constructing various playful furniture pieces that we will temporarily install around downtown. For instance, we've created giant banquet style tables on casters for impromptu potlucks and happenings around downtown.”

Danziger is thankful, like many other artists, for the support of art lovers, whether they are at Art City Austin or just Austin in general.

“Our relationship with Art Alliance has allowed us to make new work and explore new ideas… Art Alliance came to us with a general idea and allowed us to make a proposal. The proposal format enables us to generate artistically fulfilling ideas while still also aiming to fulfill their needs. This type of freedom is ideal for the group of dedicated creatives working at Hatch Workshop. We hope that our excitement about our work can be sensed by the people viewing and using it.”

For the art community, connecting with the greater Austin community is a must. And by increasing public awareness at home, the Austin art scene can even make a mark on the grander stage of the art world.

“Austin has only recently become 'known' for its art scene,” says Capanelli. “So it's been a hard nut to crack for Austin to become known for its visual arts scene, and even to get Austinites to make it a priority. But in recent years, this has been happening in a very big way. This is thanks to the efforts of Art Alliance Austin as well as other great innovators, like EAST and AMOA-Arthouse. What they're doing now though — it's full impact won't be recognized for some time.”

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Art City Austin takes place April 13 and 14 along Cesar Chavez and the 2nd Street District. Single day tickets are $8 each; a weekend pass is available for $15.

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