The Austin Chronicle

Art City Austin: Everything old is new again

By Robert Faires, April 11, 2008, Arts

The city's oldest art fair is about to become its newest art fair.

The annual showcase for visual artists launched in 1956 as Fiesta and known more recently as the Austin Fine Arts Festival has reinvented itself for the new century and this week makes its debut as Art City Austin. Visitors will still be able to find lots of original works of art for sale, but the familiar April event is making some changes, starting with the location, which has shifted south from Republic Square Park to City Hall and the north bank of Lady Bird Lake.

Art City is also seeking to shake up the way the art is shown and how. For starters, producing entity Art Alliance Austin has commissioned installations from area artists to enliven the site: Jackie Young has been taking Polaroid portraits of individuals holding a sign on which they have finished the statement "I am ...," and performance artist Cybil Gustafson is hanging them in a Second Street retail space, at American Apparel on South Congress, and on site; Ian Cion has been working with patients at the Dell Children's Medical Center to cover a pair of Capital Metro buses, inside and out, with art; and Denise Prince Martin is creating some unique topiaries for the First Street Bridge.

Art Alliance Austin has also partnered with the American Institute of Architects Austin and the Austin Foundation for Architecture on the Temporary Outdoor Gallery Space Ideas Competition, in which entrants propose innovative, new ways to show, share, and sell art outside. (The call for entries drew hundreds of responses from more than 20 countries. Finalists and winners were being announced after the paper went to press on April 9.) Winning designs will be exhibited and realized in future years.

Art City Austin will feature treats for the ears as well as the eyes, thanks to a partnership with the Austin Music Foundation; stages will be set up at City Hall and by Seaholm with bands playing all afternoon both days of the fair. Art City Austin runs April 12-13, Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-6pm. Tickets are $8 per day or $15 for both days. (Kids 12 and under get in free.) The schedule follows. For more information, visit

Thursday, April 10, 6-8pm

Art + Style 2nd Street District Champagne and Shopping + Art Preview

Local Art City Austin artists preview their art throughout the district as bubbly is poured and stores are patronized.

Saturday, April 12

11am-noon Art 101: Welcome to Art City! Presentation by Catherine Dossin, Art Talk Pavilion

11:15am-12:30pm Porterdavis Seaholm Street Stage

11:45am-1pm The Belleville Outfit City Hall Stage

1-2pm Collecting on a Budget Presentation by Till Richter, Art Talk Pavilion

1-2:15pm Freddie Steady 5 Seaholm Street Stage

1:30-2:45pm The Octopus Project City Hall Stage

2:45-4pm Kellye Gray Seaholm Street Stage

3-4pm Art + Architecture with Lawrence Speck and Margo Sawyer, Art Talk Pavilion

3:15-4:30pm The Mother Truckers Austin City Hall Stage

7-10pm Art After Dark Art City Austin artists with music by Del Castillo and fashion vignettes by 2nd Street District shops ($65)

Sunday, April 13

Noon-1pm Practice Your Eye Art Talk Pavilion

12:15-1:30pm Suzanna Choffel Seaholm Street Stage

12:45-2pm Govinda City Hall Stage

2-3pm Best of Art City Austin Judge and jury pick review of winners, presentation by Cheryl Snay (Blanton Museum of Art) and Timothy High (University of Texas at Austin), Art Talk Pavilion

2-3:15pm Opposite Day Seaholm Street Stage

2:30-3:45pm Guy Forsyth City Hall Stage

3:45-5pm Mundi Seaholm Street Stage

4-5pm A Conservation Conversation Presentation by Bill Davis (Davis Gallery), Mark Van Gelder, Cheryl Carrabba, and Lynn Osler, Art Talk Pavilion

4:15-5:30pm Brave Combo City Hall Stage

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