Stephen Mills in Montreal, Conspirare in the studio, the Blanton's first Impressionist painting, and party for the Texas Biennial
Chalk up another choreographic triumph for Stephen Mills. The much-honored artistic director of Ballet Austin is one of three finalists for the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur's International Choreographic Competition held this week in Montreal. Each finalist presented 15-20 minutes of original work, which was evaluated by a three-person jury and the audience. Mills presented One/The Body's Grace, the second act of his 2003 ballet Touch. Results of the competition were not available at press time. Still, with his 1998 coup at the Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis being the only American choreographer presenting work Mills is making the same kind of splash on the international stage as he is on our own. Bravo!
Award-winning Austin chamber choir Conspirare spent last weekend wowing audiences in San Francisco and environs in four separate concerts. This was the ensemble's second tour of the Bay area, having made a 2002 visit to the region (old stomping grounds for Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson from his days directing the professional choir Chanticleer).But this trip includes a first for Conspirare: its first trip into the studio. The choir, which just signed with Clarion Records, starts production on its first studio release this month, with recording sessions taking place at Skywalker Ranch. May the Force be with them.
A new celebration of contemporary artists based in Texas is being launched at the Dougherty Arts Center on Saturday, Aug. 7. The Texas Biennial is an Austin-based initiative to "discover, encourage, and promote the numerous contemporary artists" across the state, and its first exhibition will be spread over five local galleries Bolm Studios, Camp Fig, the Dougherty, Elevator Art Club, and Gallery Lombardi in March 2005. This weekend's fundraising event will include art by Sodalitas, Michael Sieben, Allison Sands, Aldo Valdes Bohm, Arturo Palacios, the Camp Fig Counselors, and many others; a raffle; and live music from DJ Jazz One and Crew, Total 13 of San Antonio, and CROW of Austin. For more information, call Arturo Palacios at 397-1469.
The Blanton Museum of Art has its first Impressionist painting, and you can thank Lady Bird Johnson. The former First Lady recently donated Armand Guillaumin's oil painting Environs de Paris, a gift from her husband, President Lyndon Johnson, to the museum. Guillaumin spent many years capturing images of life on the outskirts of a Paris that was quickly expanding into the countryside. The painting, which depicts a handful of cottages beyond a sloping hillside, hung in the White House during the Johnson administration. It will have a temporary home in the current Blanton space until the new museum opens in February 2006.