August 8, 2013

Via Colori:One of Two Downtown Fredericksburg Art Events in September 2013

Two Art Events in September- Why they Both Matter

The growing multitude of talented, diverse artists in the Fredericksburg area has spawned not one, but two large-scale events for the public to enjoy and interact with working artists on the streets of our fair city during the month of September.

Both events:
·       are led by a dedicated core of local artists who want to promote fellow artists and interact with the public who might not otherwise witness the artistic process in person.
·       are free to the public and every artist who participates.
·       will bring people to the downtown area to shop, dine, and develop/ continue relationships with artists while they work- which in turn leads to increased art sales and gallery visits.  
·       have a Facebook/ web presence and continuing  opportunities related to the main event.  
·      do not offer awards- there is no competitive element driving either event.

           I am speaking of Art Attack on September 14-15 and the Via Colori Street Painting Festival on September 21-22. There are unlimited reasons to participate and/or support both events, essentially respect for and camaraderie with artists.  An art mentor once said to me “A rising tide lifts all ships”, meaning all artists can support one another to boost morale, and in turn, increase sales of every artist.  These words are especially important when most other events result in a highly competitive atmosphere.  Both Art Attack and Via Colori celebrate the uniqueness of every participant in an inclusive atmosphere.
            There are differences between both events, which is good.       
            Art Attack is a grass-roots, volunteer-led effort to celebrate and expose the talents of the local art community.  Artists supply their own materials, eliminating the need for a budget, and choose their subject and medium.  They are offered the chance to show and sell the resulting art in a professional gallery setting, LibertyTown Arts Workshop, which is the largest venue of its kind in the area.  Art Attack offers an innovative, interactive, and valuable event opportunity for an unlimited number of artists and visitors.
            Via Colori is a licensed event and currently a fundraiser for the Fredericksburg Area Museum by offering sponsorship opportunities to local businesses. The event’s financial supporters, volunteers, and directors lend assistance in a variety of ways. Their support enables a tremendous amount of advertising, workshops and instruction from talented local and international street artists, and all art supplies will be provided.  Artists choose an image prior to the festival that is respectful of all ages attending and then recreate it on the pavement as a temporary large pastel painting.  Drawing and painting skills, creating while talking with many people, and working outdoors on the pavement are the main requirements for this centuries-old European art style, which is making a huge comeback in the form of large festivals.  There are stages with local musicians performing alongside the artists. A children’s area will have chalks provided for spontaneous creations, and local food vendors will offer treats.  Over 5,000 people daily have attended the past three years of the festival. The artwork is ephemeral, yet the photographs and impressions last forever for all involved, and each artist feels appreciated and supported by many. A new bonus this year: several local featured artists will be hired for their appearances and creations.
            The eternal optimist, I am confident that artists have more options than ever to be a part of downtown public events and will drum up an increasing awareness of what many of us do for a living.  I hope to see you at both events!

Mirinda Reynolds
Local artist
Via Colori Representative

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