The Austin Chronicle

It's a Car, It's a Canvas ... It's an Art Car!

By Jordan Smith, April 23, 2004, News

For some time, West Austin News publisher Bart Stephens had been trying to come up with a unique event his paper could sponsor, but the ideas just weren't flowing. Then he happened to catch a television program featuring a Houston high school art teacher whose class was creating an art car that would be entered into the city's Orange Show Center for Visionary Art's annual art car parade. "Oh my goodness," he said to himself, "we need to do an art car parade" – and so the Austin Art Car Parade was born. The parade debuted in 2003, and even without much media attention attracted 60 entrants for the 2-mile-long route through Downtown. This year Stephens says he's already confirmed 85 participants, and suspects there will be more – including seven cars WAN donated to seven Austin public schools to be decorated by student art classes. "This is a community PR thing, and I'd like to come up with some way to make donations back to the community," he said, "to art programs at schools and youth groups."

The Austin Art Car Parade kicks off with a preparade party on Friday, April 23, 8-10pm on the rooftop of Maggie Mae's on East Sixth. The party is open to the public, tickets are $5 each (art car artists get in free). There will be reserved parking for art cars on East Sixth, from the Driskill Hotel east to Esther's Follies. Parade day festivities start at 9:30am on Saturday, April 24 at 11th and Congress, and the parade itself will begin there at 11:30am, traveling two miles down Congress to the Congress Avenue Baptist Church, just south of Town Lake. For more info, call WAN at 459-5474, or see

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