Art and the Great Outdoors!

Art, music, fun, oh my!

Art and the Great Outdoors!

Art Outside is a yearly festival that encourages families and friends to take out their camping gear to enjoy a weekend experiencing the arts in the outdoors. It boasts multi-genre musical acts, towering sculptures, live performance art, some of the best people watching ever.

When I first pulled into Apache Pass I was thinking how different it looked than when I was there for Nocturnal Fest. Instead of being met by multiple stages and laser lights everywhere, I saw a litter of tents and sculptures. The parking lot doubled as the camping area where festival goers could lounge around during the day in between events and catch a sliver of sleep before morning light. Tents continued out of the lot in the form of vendors selling their hand-made jewelry, clothes, and décor.

I made a cursory circle around the festival grounds, trying to take in everything slowly. Art installations were in every direction you turned. I looked into the Art Gallery; some of those pieces just blew my mind away. You guys really have to check out the work of Erik de la Cruz (DELA). He combines the earth and the universe in such a colorful way. Musicians ranging from folk to hip-hop played a handful of stages. I sat in on a yoga class, a DIY lesson about repurposing used everyday items, a museum of curiosity freak show, a poetry reading, a showcase of Australian folk instruments. By the way, I was incredibly impressed by the slam poetry of Amir Safi. Y’all really need to hear his poem “Hijacked.”

When I was finished with that initial circle, I kept being drawn to two art installations. The first was the “Cathedral of Celestial Mathgic” by Aaron Geiser. The piece centered around a multipoint wooden star with metal-covered tips. When touched, the metal tips would trigger a sound, with each tip producing a different note. All around the star, Geiser had carved quotes and graphics into wooden walls forming a sort of enclosure to house the star. The second piece I was a sculpture by Michael Christian entitled “Key Note.” It featured a man, with a large keyhole face and made entirely of locks, dragging a giant key with a line made out of small keys. And just a little trivia knowledge, both Geiser and Christian are from Texas and were featured in this year’s Burning Man.

I have my own ideas about the art pieces I saw at Art Outside. But it’s up to each person to decide what they mean. This weekend, I came to experience something new and different. I took away the idea that art, like nature, is creation and destruction. You can look at a junkyard or a landfill and only see trash. Or you, like many of the Art Outside artists, can see the potential for creation. I will definitely be back next year!

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