This month, Arts In Context Shorts profiles a musician who is creating her own style. Gina Chavez is exactly who she is supposed to be. This award-winning Austin musician uses her multi-ethnic roots to create her own sound. Influenced by the music she heard and the people she met while traveling through Central and South America, Chavez delves into cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton and folk. Singing in both English and Spanish, her contagious love of life shines through in her unique fusion of musical styles.
This week, Arts In Context Shorts gets you moving! More than a dance, tango is a connection between two people – and the teachers and students of Esquina Tango know that to dance it well, you must be tuned into the other person’s body and movement. More than a dance studio, Esquina Tango offers a variety of classes and is a cultural center that uses dance as a tool to bring people together, with tango at the heart of it. With patient instructors and classes for all ages and incomes, this non-profit dance studio has tuned in to the needs of its East Austin community and continues to grow with panache.
This week, Arts In Context Shorts takes you to the drive-in movie theater. Located on the sprawling tarmac of the old Austin airport is the Blue Starlite Drive-in. A few nights a week, up to fifty cars and a handful of walk-in moviegoers gradually fill the lot. While some people drop tailgates and inflate air mattresses in truck beds, others arrange sofa cushions in hatchbacks or unfold lawn chairs around coolers. As the sun sets behind the city skyline and the stars come out, people tune their radios into the theater’s own station attach one of many vintage speakers and settle in for the movie. In this short, we see why the Blue Starlite has become a worthy member of Austin’s unique collection of independent cinemas.
Arts In Context Shorts features an innovative project using art to empower. Through education and training, Arc of the Arts makes professional artists out of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program gives new skills to artists both in making art and in marketing and selling their works, providing a viable career path for a population with limited options. With a strong identity, a boost of confidence, self expression and platform for exposure, these artists meet new goals for refining their craft and for practicing social skills to use in their new career.
A shortened version of this story will air during PBS NewsHour Weekend on Saturday, September 13 at 6:30pm.
This week, Arts In Context Shorts features a project that combines haunting music with nature.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Laguna Gloria, R. Murray Schafer’s Music for Wilderness Lake is a contemplative experience that combines a natural soundscape with haunting music. Organized by Director Steve Parker, twelve trombonists position themselves around the lagoon to play the experimental piece at dawn and at dusk, while a conductor sits in a canoe in the middle of the lagoon, signaling the trombonists with flags. Taking advantage of the unique air patterns and natural sounds during these times of day, Schafer invites the audience to listen to their natural surroundings along with the piece itself. While both observing and absorbing the landscape around them, listeners of Music for Wilderness Lake find themselves transported to a meditative state of being.
Music for Wilderness Lake was performed at Laguna Gloria at the Contemporary Austin on June 27th and 28th, 2014.
Arts In Context Shorts focuses on community collaboration in this week’s story. In it’s tenth year as a grassroots, national festival, Combating Latent Inequality Together (C.L.I.T.) Fest comes to life in Austin for the first time. The DIY, punk and feminist communities come together bringing awareness to sexism, trans-phobia, gender inequalities and other forms of discrimination through workshops, bands and artist collaboration. Benefiting SAFEPLACE, a resource that provides safety for individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence, C.L.I.T. Fest reminds others that punk music is a vehicle for activism.
This week, Arts In Context Shorts presents the fun side of art. In the sequel of “More Awkward Than Heavy,” Ink Tank Lab‘s artists focus on collaborating, having fun and letting their imaginations go wild. “MATH2″ is an installation that explores going to art shows as a social event and pokes fun at museum and gallery stereotypes. Ink Tank’s artists want the attendees to participate, touch and help create the “awkward” experience. While some work in academic or museum settings and all have different aesthetics, working together as Ink Tank Lab allows these artists to lose the restraints put on when creating ‘serious’ artwork.
Arts In Context Shorts presents an all new episode with ATX Free Art Friday.
Every Friday in Austin, Texas anyone can join in an Instagram art treasure hunt as part of #ATXFreeArtFriday. “Finders Keepers” is the way it works, but you must share a photo of your art find back on Instagram. Started by members of SprATX, a local street art collective, #ATXFreeArtFriday has grown exponentially with artists joining from all over Austin to hide free art for the community to take home. It’s like artwork hunger games out there, so follow @SprATX on Instagram if you want to join the hunt.
Clothing can inspire memories of the past or can be symbols of plans for the future. This week Arts In Context Shorts features artist Johnny Walker as he explores the relationship between people and their clothing in his public art installation Clothes Stories. KLRU commissioned Walker to create this public art project and brought on Goodwill Industries of Central Texas as a community-partner to help create this unique installation.
Attendees at the Arts In Context party at the 2013 East Austin Studio Tour were asked to participate in selecting from thousands of garments donated by Goodwill, writing their stories, and hanging them for display at Big Medium’s Canopy studios. Some attendees even brought their own special pieces to donate. Whether fact or fiction, these personal stories range from family histories and poems to revealing hopes and dreams. The installation was temporary, but the clothes’ stories didn’t end at the event. Walker has cataloged and tagged the clothes for online reference. The tagged garments were then returned to Goodwill to find new owners. As the pieces of clothing are purchased, the tag will lead the new owners to details about the item’s real or imagined past life at clothestories.com
The City of Austin has chosen two KLRU short films— Arts In Context Shorts Pour Your Heart Out and Austin Revealed Civil Rights Stories — to be featured in the annual Faces of Austin short film project.
The City of Austin will premiere its Faces of Austin short film selections for 2014 as part of the SXSW Film Community Screenings on Saturday, March 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre, 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd. The 2014 Faces of Austin premiere is free, open to the public, and does not require a SXSW film badge or pass.
The 12 films chosen this year were all made by local filmmakers and highlight the people, institutions, and cultures that make up Austin. Several films feature local non-profit organizations, such as Goodwill of Central Texas and the Austin Bike Zoo. Other films focus on unique individuals within the community, including a Hurricane Katrina survivor who now calls Austin home and pioneers of the local civil rights movement.
The entire list of 2014 films can be viewed at www.austintexas.gov/
Faces of Austin is intended to showcase the work of Austin filmmakers that reflects the diverse faces, voices, and experiences that make up Austin’s unique identity. Individual films from the 2014 collection will be viewable on ATXN, online, and at special screenings.
Faces of Austin is a program of the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department and ATXN, the City’s government access channel. The program debuted in 2005; this year marks the seventh year of showcasing Austin-made short films. The 2014 program was supported by SXSW Film and the Austin Film Society.
City of Austin Cultural Arts Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin. For more information, visit www.austincreates.com.