Art City Austin

Feel the love

Art City Austin

Art City Austin 2009 is on its way this weekend, and the annual outdoor visual-arts fair is seriously spreading the love this year: to architects, to performance artists, to bicyclists, and to, well, everyone in town. See, not only has sponsoring organization Art Alliance Austin expanded its Art City partners to include Pecha Kucha Austin, the Fusebox Festival, and Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, it's also commissioned performance-art visionary Jaclyn Pryor (floodlines) to create a new iteration of her love-note courier service, pink, so anyone who visits Art City this Saturday and Sunday will be able to send a love note to anyone else in the city via a messenger on a pink bike.

The hub of activity is once again along West Cesar Chavez between Lamar and Guadalupe and across the First Street Bridge, where more than 200 artists from around the world will be exhibiting their work. Look for the F.O.I.L. entrance beacons commissioned from Robert Gay and Lucy Begg of local design firm Thoughtbarn; they're covered with small foil leaves and designed so each leaf will move with the wind. On either end of the footprint will be stages booked by the Austin Music Foundation: Colin Gilmore, Golden Arm Trio, the Black & White Years, Atash, the Hudsons, and the Brent Allen Band grace the Lamar Stage, while the First Street Stage will feature Zookeeper, Leatherbag, Bavu Blakes & the Extra Plairs, El Tule, Nakia & His Southern Cousins, and David Garza. And a kids' stage will feature DJ Matt Sonzala, Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts' YouthCast winners, Aftermath, OMG, Carson McHone, Knights of Steel, and Chief Rival. Plus, between the end of Saturday's fair and the start of Sunday's, you can enjoy Art After Dark Austin, with music from soul combo Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and DJ Chicken George; food from Word of Mouth catering, Streeats, the Belmont, the Salt Lick, Tacodeli, Holy Cacao, and Cookie Lounge; and beverages from Twin Liquors and Bacardi.

But more will be going on beyond the Art City borders, even before the fair begins: Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival's Barrels Across Texas fundraiser (Thursday, April 23, 6pm, AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center); Pecha Kucha Night, where architects, artists, and designers show their work in six-minute, 40-second bursts (Thursday, April 23, 8:20pm, Austin City Limits studio); Art Spaces, a progressive tour through six Central Austin galleries (Friday, April 24, 5:30-9pm); art talks on Critics, Critique and Community (a panel moderated by this writer, April 24, 4pm, Domy Books), Art in Public Places: Temporary Outdoor Projects (Friday, April 24, 8pm, Mexican American Cultural Center), and Fusebox's 12:19 Project (Saturday, April 25, 3:30pm, Austin Museum of Art – Downtown); 12:19 Project, in which people chronicle their lives from 12:19 to 12:20pm (daily, Austin Museum of Art); Lance Letscher booksignings (Friday, April 24, 6:30pm, D Berman Gallery; Saturday, April 25, 2pm, Austin Museum of Art booth at Art City); Bodies in Urban Spaces, where 25 dancers lead the audience through streets and buildings of Downtown Austin (Saturday, April 25, 1 & 6:30pm; Sunday, April 26, 11am, Republic Square Park); and, in partnership with Mellow Johnny's, daily bike tours exploring local public art projects (Thursday-Friday, April 23-24, noon; Saturday-Sunday, April 25-26, 8:30am).

Can you feel the love? If so, you might want one of those pink couriers to send a note to Art Alliance Austin. For more information, visit

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