Aspiring for an artistic year

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

People check out the sites and sounds of the first-ever Austin ArtWorks Festival last August at the downtown Utilities Plant. Herald file photo

Organizers gearing up for 2013 entertainment

Even as 2012 serves up its last hurrah, local entertainment leaders are planting the seeds for an eventful 2013.

The Paramount Theatre’s spring schedule is already taking shape, and will feature visits from big-name bands from back in the day.

“We have two really big events happening this spring,” said Jennie Knoebel, executive director of the Paramount Theatre.

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The first one is on March 2, when The Lovin’ Spoonful plays the Paramount. The ’60s band, which split up in 1969, got back together in 1991 to keep playing music. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and still have three of their four original members.

Knoebel points to hit songs like “Do You Believe in Magic?” and “Summer in the City” for examples of their music that people may know.

“They were a really popular band,” she said.

Little Texas

The month after, Nashville-born country band Little Texas comes to town. The group became popular in the 80s with their No. 1 single “God Blessed Texas.” Its songs first hit the radio a little more than 20 years ago, and its newest album hit shelves in 2007. The band is currently on tour across the country.

While the Paramount has about half of 2013 spoken for, the rest of the year’s schedule is still in the works.

“We’re pretty much just booked through May,” she said. The staff is working on solidifying the summer schedule now, she added.

But there’s another large plan in the works outside the Paramount for later in the year.

Following the first annual Austin ArtWorks Festival that took place in August, Knoebel is working as the event’s director to put together its sophomore effort this coming year.

“We are just starting to put out applications for authors and artists to fill out,” she said. “There are potentially some big names that may be coming in.”

The first year’s event brought writers, painters, photographers and more to Austin to showcase their work. All of them had connections to the area, whether they had grown up in the community or had moved to it.

Initially, some artists were hesitant about participating, but interest in the festival snowballed after painter Eric Anfinson agreed to come all the way from his studio in Key West, Fla., to present his work. Eventually, the organizing committee had to turn away applicants because the festival had run out of space at the downtown Austin Utilities plant where it was held.

“We were so excited how successful it was,” said Bonnie Rietz, co-chair of the ArtWorks Festival.

Compared with last year’s festival, the upcoming one should be larger, with shorter gallery hours and live music that lasts further into the evening. That was one of the suggestions a visitor made at the first festival. There may also be some adjustments to give the gallery some breathing room and let those listening to authors do so in a quieter environment.

“We may relocate the authors to their own spot so the main gallery floor may be larger than it was last year,” Knoebel said.

Another possible change would be to make more children-oriented activities at the festival, though nothing is set in stone yet.

Rietz said the event’s second year will build off the momentum from last year. Seeing how well everything went the first time makes it easier to plan for the second.

“We’re very excited about the Austin ArtWorks Festival happening again this year,” she said. “It’s like a great homecoming for the art people in the community when they come back.”

The majority of planning will begin in January, when a larger group will begin to meet in addition to a steering committee.

Those interested in keeping in touch with developments in planning the next festival can check in periodically at