Move Over, Music: Arts festival goes beyond tradition


Media Credit: Danielle Moore
February 23, 2009
The Red and Black
link to original article

Move Over, Music: Arts festival goes beyond tradition
By Katie Andrew

Saturday was a great day for West Hancock. Starting at 3 p.m. with a lively street parade featuring the band Dark Meat, dozens of cultured citizens and a throng of passionate supporters banded together to celebrate the third annual AUX Experimental Arts Festival at CinĂ© and Little Kings.     

Move over, music – art is comin’ through.

“It’s a one-day event that has kind of short performances, an outside art [market], a video screening and a sound installation,” said Mark Callahan, artistic director of  Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE). 

“ICE is an interdisciplinary initiative for advanced research in the arts at UGA,” Callahan said. “Our main goal is to be a catalyst for interdisciplinary dialogue. The AUX festival is really terrific because it gets a lot of dialogue happening in the University and in the community. It generates a lot of excitement about experimental things that are beyond the traditional.” 

Callahan describes AUX3 as an Athens adaptation of a Fringe festival. 

“Athens is such a cultural magnet,” he said. “We wanted to do a project that would feature the more experimental side.” 

It was unclear at first what made this event so “experimental” – but not for long. As more musicians, dancers, visual artists and filmmakers came forth to share what they had to offer to an eager audience, a theme became abundantly apparent. 

Many of the AUX3 contributors put in the time and effort to really stretch their talents through partnership, innovation and expression across multiple mediums.

It’s definitely a collaboration,” said performer Julie Phillips of the act Maps and Transit, who performed at 9:30 p.m. at Cine. Phillips, a trapeze artist with Canopy Studios, performed a mid-air routine with aerial fabrics to the musical stylings of Kyle Dawkins, a member of the Georgia Guitar Quartet. 

“We’re also having a friend of ours, Chris Wyrick, painting and projecting [what he’s working on] behind us during the performance,” Dawkins said. 

He said although the act is “still forming,” the three-piece couldn’t resist the chance to take the Cine stage in support of AUX3. 

“I think a lot of people don’t realize how important the arts are to the economy in Athens,” he said “When you have artists in a town, you’re going to have a better community.” 

AUX3 didn’t just exhibit the collaborative projects of different types of performances. Local crafts merchants were also given a chance to share their passion at the Artists Market. 

University art student and accessory designer Rhys May was there with bells on to promote her philanthropic project RhysPeace. For every item sold, May donates 10 percent of the net sale to one of four organizations of the customer’s choice: Food Not Bombs, The Athens Land Trust, BikeAthens or Susan G. Komen for the Cure Global Promise Fund. 

“I love making art, and I love helping people,” May. “I figure if I can do something that I love and said help other people at the same time, that’s awesome.”

Serra Ferguson, who crafts accessories from vintage materials, stresses the important of events like AUX3 to the local economy. 

“I support people making a living on their art. I’ve been doing it for 10 years,” Ferguson said. “Everything is better on the local level. You can’t support these huge box stores; you can’t support something that has to be making millions of dollars just to function.”

Local jeweler Kenneth Kase also enjoys the atmosphere of support for local commerce that is bolstered by AUX3. 

“It’s important to support anything local,” Kase said. “The more you help your community, the more your community will help you.”