Festival continues to grow

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

By Nate Brinkman

The Annual Austin ArtWorks Festival drew a crowd to the downtown Austin Municipal plant over the weekend.

Austin Area Commission of the Arts Executive Director Jennie Knoebel said the festival has definitely grown since its inauguration in 2012. In its fifth year, more than 7,200 people attended the festival, which featured 54 visual artists.

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“We have always had good attendance at the festival, as we had around 5,000 people come for the first year, but we are definitely continuing to grow, which is a good thing,” Knowbel said.

The festival featured artists from mostly around Minnesota and Iowa, but it included people from across the nation.

ArtWorks Center office manager Kelsey Ritchie explained that the festival brought a lot of people into the community.

“I talked to a lot of people who made the trip here from the Twin Cities area as well as people from Iowa and Wisconsin,” Ritchie said.

“Some of the families of the artists traveled from all across the nation to see the works of their families on display at our festival,” she added.

The festival included the annual concert held at the Historic Paramount Theatre in honor of Dr. Richard Schindler.

The Saturday night concert moved to the Paramount after being held outdoors in past years. It featured Twin Cities bands Malamanya and Sonny Knight and the Lakers.

The Peter Jacobs Jazz Combo performed in the Paramount Theatre plaza between the onstage performances.

Looking ahead, next year’s festival faces a bit of uncertainty as the community awaits a decision on the Austin Community Recreation Center, which is proposed to be built at the municipal plant and could force the festival to a new home.

“We are all still uncertain about where the festival will be held next year,” Knoebel said.