Art explosion; Austin ArtWorks Festival to be held Aug. 26 and 27

Published 7:01 am Sunday, August 20, 2017

As August slowly draws summer to an end, one last big hurrah is awaiting the people of Austin and the surrounding area.

On Aug. 26 and 27, at its new location across from the Paramount Theatre, the Austin ArtWorks Festival holds annual court, bringing with it a whole assortment of the arts to downtown.

Whatever your ideal form of art is, there will be plenty of options as the Austin Area Commission for the Arts has slowly been releasing what it has coming for this year’s festival.

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From music to painting to sculpture and writing there will be a little bit of everything.

While more information will undoubtedly be made available later in the week, we put together this handy rundown of just a small number of things scheduled to take place.

And if you want even more information including a map of downtown stops during the festival head over to

Artrageous will bring its artistic spectacle to the Dick Schindler Celebration Event. Photo courtesy of Artrageous

Simply Artrageous

Artrageous in its name alone seems to sum up the spirit behind the festival. It speaks of style and sound all wrapped up in one area.

Artrageous is an interactive art and music speed-painting experience that incorporates all sorts of styles including of course painting and music along with dancing all wrapped up in a family-friendly environment.

The act is based out of Tijeras, New Mexico and was formed in 1980 in Vancouver, British Columbia, by current Artrageous members Daniel K. Moyer and Deborah B. Noble according to the act’s website.

During this time the group has produced more than 2,500 shows both on the national and international stages.

Artrageous is this year’s center stage for the Dick Schindler Celebration Event which in the past has featured Cloud Cult among others.

Artrageous, however, is only one of the musical acts to hit the outdoor stage over the two-day event. The following is a list of those acts:

•Big Mike featuring Retro Soul and the Westside Horns: Classic R&B and Motown will be featured in this funky show.

•Porchlights: This alt-folk trio based out of Mankato brings a vocally-driven, acoustic rock and blues sound to both original songs and old favorites.

•Austin Big Band: Want some swing in your festival? The Austin Big Band, featuring 17 members from across Minnesota and northern Iowa. Both big-band-era and contemporary jazz favorites will be part of the mix.

•Diversity Showcase: This showcase of music and dance is organized by the African Asian Refugee Services Agency. The performances will be representative of different parts of the world.

•Galatic Cowboy Orchestra: This group has made several visits to Austin and southeast Minnesota and returns once again with its own brand of rock jazz fusion.

•Ripdoozers: This new act features recognizable Austin musicians Pete Jacobsen, Jeff Reinartz and Casey McIntyre playing plenty of familiar favorites from such artists as Tom Petty, Wilco and the Jayhawks.

•Cosmic: Made up of Jesse Smith, Scott Anderson and Randy Anderson, Cosmic is a festival favorite with a heavy dose of blues.

Acoustic Stage

•Ecumenical Balls

•Lawhead Duo

•Cedar River Strings

•The Cousin’s Quartet


•Trio Sen Nome

•Con Fuoco


Sammi Jones. Photo provided

The Written Word

The ArtWorks Festival has always found a place for the written word and this year features a diverse line-up of writers that will be on hand to speak at this year’s festival.

This year nine authors will talk about books and writing at Sweet Reads.

They include:

•Sammi Jones: Jones is the author that has written for a variety of publications and is the assistant editor for a trade magazine. She is also a skater with the Minneapolis North Star Roller Girls.

•Chris Norbury: Author and freelance writer who wrote the book “Castle Danger,” which was published in 2016. Some of his articles include pieces on wilderness canoeing for the Boundary Waters Journal.

•Sandra Weinrib Stanfield: A licensed colon therapist and certified clinical hypnotherapist from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sandra was approached by her friend and George A. Hormel grandson Tom D. Hormel to edit and publish George Hormel’s autobiography, “The Open Road.”

•Julie Seedorf: Seedorf is the author of two series of books: “Fuchsia, Minnesota” and “Brilliant, Minnesota.” Seedorf is also a watercolor artist working on an illustrated children’s book series, “Granny’s In Trouble.”

•Mary McCarthy: McCarthy wrote the book, “A Pilgrimage of Hope: A Story of Faith and Medicine,” which tells the story of her battle with brain cancer.

•Eileen Evans: Eileen Evans, who lives in LeRoy, is the historian and author of “Cy Thomson: The Generous Embezzler.” Her book tells the story of the Hormel executive who in the early 1900’s embezzled over $1 million and invested much of it in various ventures around LeRoy.

•Judi Bergen: This Austin author just published her debut novel “Longing to Belong,” and has had short stories published in literary journals.

•Ricki Walters: Another Austin-based author, Walters is owner and editor for RLW Editorial Services and a member of the Professional Editors’ Network.

•Lydia Emma Niebuhr: Over 25 years ago, Niebuhr began writing and under her pen name of Harriet Ulland has written books for young readers that have action and mystery without violence. Her latest, a read for all ages, is a historical fiction based on the Dakota Conflict in Minnesota.

An early kick-off

Just in case you can’t wait for The ArtWorks Festival there is a long list of things to get you in the mood that lead-up to the big event.

Today: “No One Will Marry a Princess With a Tree Growing Out of Her Head,” a play by the Matchbox Children’s Theatre, 2 p.m. Tickets available at the ArtWorks Center.

Sunday: “No One Will Marry a Princess With a Tree Growing Out of Her Head,” a play by the Matchbox Children’s Theatre, 2 p.m. Tickets available at the ArtWorks Center.

Monday: Jack & Kitty, an organic vaudeville folk duo performing at the Hormel Historic Home Peace Garden, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Author meet and greet with Gail Kittleson at Sweet Reads.

Wednesday: $5 Wednesday Movie: “Almost Famous,” 6:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre.

Thursday: Gallery opening featuring Shelley Aquino Brandon and Matthew Rucker starting at 5 p.m. at the Austin ArtWorks Center. Meet the artists and enjoy some refreshments.

Friday: Alley Concert with Fat Rudy, 8:30 p.m. at Dusty’s Bar & Lounge.

Information courtesy of the Austin ArtWorks Center