Austinites meet art with enthusiasm

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

Adam Johnson looks at paintings by Bonnie Broitzman while holding a friend’s 13-week-son Franklin Fischer Saturday at the Austin Artworks Festival being held at the downtown Austin Utilities plant. Eric Johnson/

Austin residents gathered around and inside the old Utilities building Saturday to enjoy a vast spectrum of visual, written and musical art, along with some rain.

The first of the Austin ArtWorks Festival’s two days welcomed in a large crowd of all ages. Artists both local and nationally acclaimed displayed works of all media, from paintings and photographs to sculpture and glassblowing. Organizers praised the turnout as an auspicious start to the festival’s debut year.

“It just came together so beautifully,” said Bonnie Rietz, co-chair of the festival committee and former mayor of Austin.

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Artists were on-hand to talk about their work and artistic process, and many works were up for sale.

Eleven stage performances and nine author talks kept visitors active in all areas of the festival, and children were invited to let their artistic side out painting a Volkswagen in the “Brush the Beetle” activity.

Apart from a celebration of the arts, the festival was also a way for Austin residents to get a glimpse of the Utilities building’s interior. A table in the gallery room asked residents what they would like to see happen during the Utilities building’s planned Vision 2020 renovation. Visitors can submit their ideas at the festival and check out some computer renderings of possible uses, which split the three floors into a museum, a children’s activity zone and a restaurant/rooftop area.

The festival continues Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. at the downtown Austin Utilities Plant.

Look for the full story in Monday’s paper.