Art Alliance Austin: At 50, a rejuvenated mission and new name
After five decades, Austin Fine Arts Alliance has renamed itself Art Alliance Austin
As names go, Austin Fine Arts Alliance was serviceable enough for 50 years. But with the Downtown skyline changing and the Blanton and Long Center signaling a major shift in Austin's cultural identity, the organization behind the institution once known as Fiesta and lately as the Austin Fine Arts Festival thought it a good time to, as the kids today put it, rebrand. To that end, it has renamed itself Art Alliance Austin and rechristened its annual arts fair Art City Austin. The change was announced Oct. 3 at City Hall, with Texas Monthly Editor Evan Smith, Austin Museum of Art Executive Director Dana Friis-Hansen, and Blanton Museum of Art Director Jessie Otto Hite joining organization Director Meredith Powell to mark the occasion.
With heavyweights like those in attendance, you might figure more was going on than just a change in letterhead, and there was. The alliance also announced a move for its offices (from Congress and Ninth to Congress and Third, in the Swift Building), a move for the festival (from Republic Square Park down to City Hall and Lady Bird Lake), new additions to the festival (collaborative community projects and outdoor installations developed by artists and architects, with the American Institute of Architects Austin holding a competition to design temporary outdoor gallery space), new programs (a quarterly discussion series on making and collecting art), and new support for local artists (awarding $25,000 in grants to individual artists, showcasing their work in a curated gallery space at its new offices). It all adds up to an update in mission as much as nomenclature, which bodes well for the organization's – and Austin's – future.
"Art Matters Austin," the inaugural exhibition for Art Alliance Austin, curated by Till Richter, is on view through Nov. 17 at the alliance gallery, 315 Congress. For more information, call 610-4211 or visit www.artallianceaustin.org.