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This weekend's Art Night aims to make Austin more than just the 'Live Music Capital' - CultureMap


Austin's annual Art Night serves as a reminder that our city is more than just the Live Music Capital of the World. From 7 pm to midnight this Saturday, February 22, join Art Alliance Austin and a host of friends at Art Night 2014, an evening of performing arts, music, visual art, and culinary exploration.

According to acting director of Art Alliance Austin John Flemming, the event aims to foster "more of a contemporary art scene in Austin." Explained Flemming, "We're not Dallas, we're not Houston. There is a lot of interest in Austin towards the arts and we hope to really capitalize on that.”

“We're not Dallas, we're not Houston. There is a lot of interest in Austin towards the arts and we hope to really capitalize on that,” says director of Art Alliance Austin John Flemming.

In years past, Art Night Austin was a sprawling event in which participants would crawl from gallery to gallery across town, taking in local art at each station along the way. While the distributed model has the advantage of highlighting the multitudes of galleries in Austin, it proved difficult for attendees to discover all that the evening offered.

To remedy that, this year's Art Night will be centrally located at Women & Their Work and the Scottish Rite Theater. Centralizing the event will "take the running around out of it, so people can focus on having fun," said Flemming.

The evening will begin with a farm-to-table dinner hosted by renowned culinary experts Sonya Cote and Daniel Hunt. “Most of [the food] is grown within East Austin," said Flemming "The food is prepared on-site, and menu is very varied." Also varied will be the beverages which will be supplied by Infamous Brewing Company, Dragon Spirits and Texas Coffee Traders.

This year's Art Night will feature new work from Adela Andea, Melissa Borrell, Deborah Argyropoulos, Zuzu Kelly Perkal, Isabel Stensland, and Denise Prince. Prince will be presenting a new work entitled Tractactus 7. The 16 mm film is in many ways an extension of her previous work, Captivating Not Captive, utilizing fantasy in place of trauma. According to Prince, "It's very much about that which exceeds language and meaning." The film aims to reveal "the fantasies that we construct in order to make sense of life, enjoy, lean on, and create meaning for ourselves."

Attendees can also look forward to Sky Candy's aerialist adaptation of Italo Calvino's short story collection Cosmicomics. Sky Candy is an East Austin aerial arts studio voted Best Circus Arts Revivalists by The Austin Chronicle in 2011.

The Vortex Theatre will be providing supplementary theatrical support with performances by Mellisa Voght-Patternson and Justin Lavergne. Members of the Vortex company will be moving about in different costumes throughout the evening. "It will be everything from a steampunk look to a geisha style to a more Victorian style," said Bonnie Cullum, artistic director of the Vortex. "We are threading things together from different performances; it is not like a play, it is more like an event." In addition, Luna Tart is set to perform a one woman cabaret.

Along with exposing Austinites to new art, Art Night Austin hopes to inspire new sources of funding for contemporary art. "[Despite] the success of tech in Austin, there really hasn’t been a good relation between the tech community and the arts. We’re trying to do our bit to change that," said Flemming. Unlike large corporate patrons in Dallas and Houston, the Austin tech industry is composed of many successful small businesses (with the exception of some, of course). Flemming is optimistic about tech patronage in that by "including [tech representatives] as board members, we can start the dialogue."

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