Art Attack – The interactive May Fest
Another May Festival of the Arts has come to an end and in many ways it was one of the best in years, thanks to the numerous interactive art events produced around town. The Creative Energy Project’s MUGS and SPHERE events, along with Ranaga Farbiarz’s Sound Sculpture were all installed in public spaces, and all designed to be interactive.
Robert Norman collected, sanded and painted hundreds of limbs and branches, and held SPHERE decorating parties, where folks could put their creative stamp or message on sticks to be incorporated into the giant sphere. Attached to a metal base by Jim Wallace, the SPHERE was literally dropped onto the fountain site in Basin Park. Beautifully lit with the help of Jeremy Mason McGraw’s dad, the lighting of the SPHERE, complete with drumming and LED light show, was a festival highlight.
Neither snow, torrential rains, straight-line winds, nor vandals dampened the fun I had creating MUGS – 130 portraits of our creative community blown up poster-size and wallpapered to exterior walls around town. A gala poster signing at the Queen Anne Mansion, and an over-the-top graffiti event were giant cherries on the cake. Taking them down won’t be nearly as fun, but maybe the vandals can help. MUGS posters picturing all the artists can be purchased at my store, Sweet Spring Antiques, for a mere 18 bucks.
Event producer and Artrageous Parade Grand Marshal Jeremy McGraw demonstrated what creative, modern marketing can be. Using talented, young, local filmmaker Joseph Hitchcock, Jeremy wrote, directed and posted hysterically funny promo videos on the Creative Energy Project website. All quickly went viral, garnering a gazillion hits.
Farbiarz debuted “Stage One” of his interactive sound park on North Main Saturday. Aided by perfect weather and Trout Fishing in America, the opening was a big hit. Unfortunately I was 10 minutes late (Memorial Day parking Hell) and missed the chimed performance of “Give Peace A Chance.” First time a Eureka event has ever started on time. You have to give it up for Arts Council chair Sandy Martin – she runs a tight ship.
Like fish to water, the kids, without any help or coaching, figured out how to make the park zing. Delightful! I look forward to “Stage 2” and “Stage 3” of this very cool concept. And thank you Mayor Pate for showing up and supporting the arts.
I got to roam the White Street Studio Walk for an hour (we love you Gina Gallina) before going on wine and cookie duty at Zeek Taylor’s. Zeek had a never ending lineup of fans come through his home and I only had to smack one @%&* for trying to escape with a dozen plus cookies stashed in his pockets. (He apologized).
It was a short but sweet Artrageous Parade, there was fun stuff for kids in Basin Park and some of the best artwork could be found on restaurant walls.
Pretty successful all in all, although I wonder, besides White St., if tourists came to town specifically for May Fest. Inclement weather was partly to blame, but the Saturday Night Gallery Strolls seemed pretty lackluster, even though there was good work on display. No real excitement on the Walks this year – maybe it was the absence of pregnant torsos.