by Rapid River Magazine, http://www.rapidrivermagazine.com/index.php?page=1&clicked=hdhome;
There’s no question that art and craft are integral parts of the identity of Western North Carolina, but what will be the fate of the Arts as Asheville and its surrounding areas continues to grow? Folks stream into our area looking for something that their hometowns don’t offer. Perhaps it’s a stronger community, perhaps its more space, but their decision to move here is likely influenced by the Asheville’s colorful Arts scene. As these folks integrate into our culture they bring many things with them, including some of the mindset of the place from which they came. Some of these fresh influences may bring life and spark to our region, and some may bring a fear of diversity that would adversely affect our creativity and uniqueness. As the tastes and influences of our culture broadens, let’s take its growth in hand as we would gently raise a child, and create our city the way we want it to be.
Consider as a positive influence the newly created Asheville City Mural Project, and its first fundraising vehicle, the Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival. The vision of the Mural Project is to provide financial support for artists, to create community murals created by people from diverse groups within the community, to beautify the city, to achieve an undeniable visual impression of Asheville as an Arts-based city, and to create connection between the grassroots artists and the more established members of the community. The mural committee sees the next ten years as the time frame for the creation of at least a dozen fine works of art that we can all enjoy. There is also the desire to work with the members of our community whose gifts are not always recognized, such as kids and the elderly. In addition to large-scale murals, the committee sees its endeavors as holding some promise for alleviating the struggle over graffiti, by providing creative outlets for the graffiti style.
The Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival is a first year event comprised of a wide variety of delights. Featured will be an outdoor Art Car show with wacky creations on wheels by local artists. Festival goers get to cast their vote for favorite car, and the drivers get a cash prize as well as a lovely trophy or maybe a nice hubcap crown! Festival goers also can participate in the creation of an art car on site, painting and gluing on gee-gaws to their heart’s content. Bring your own glitter! A ticket to paint provides an automatic entry in the raffle to win the car once it is complete.
Performing arts of all kinds can be enjoyed from theatre to dance to music, including the creative energies of the Surreal Sirkus, Orange Brain Unlimited, Baraka Mundi belly dance, The Mosaic Vortex, Ballet Warraba African Ballet, the Hula Cats, and more. Local live music will take place all day in the old farmer’s market lot on Lexington and 240. Fine art and craft vendors will be selling and demonstrating a variety of local craft and artwork. Some pieces will be available to bid on in a silent auction, taking place all day during the festival.
To promote the Mural Project there will be a freestanding mural that everyone can ad to on the day of the festival. The sketched on design of a beautiful Asheville-themed image will provide the framework for this piece. The work will be donated and hung after the festival to provide a constant memento of the start of our mural project.
There will also be a kid’s area, big people games, roving street performance, interactive sculpture, and an underground art show.
All proceeds from the festival benefit the Mural Project. The festival is being organized by a dedicated group of volunteers comprised of Lexington Avenue merchants, artists, performers, and folks concerned with the quality of our culture. In addition to raising money for the Mural Project, the festival also holds as a goal the promotion of the Arts in general, as well as the promotion of the renaissance of Lexington Avenue.
This festival represents an opportunity the alternative and more underground aspects of the arts scene to show itself. This is a festival brought to life by artists and lovers of art, for artists and lovers of art. It will be an unusual shindig unlike anything, which has been seen here before. Prepare yourself for a walk on the funky side as the creative genius of our town comes out to play.