Letter to the Editor: People make the festival go

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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What a wonderful 11th annual Austin ArtWorks Festival we had!  The Festival has become a part of the fabric of our community and it is so exciting to see downtown Austin celebrating the arts the last weekend in August!

A festival like ours involves so many people and we want to thank everyone who came and enjoyed the festivities.  A big thank you goes to the artists, authors, musicians and actors.  They are what the festival is all about.

We have over 250 people who volunteer for the festival.  This year we had every slot filled (even clean-up!!) before the festivities started and more people were asking where they could help.  Thanks to all our volunteers!

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Donations of money and in-kind gifts by over 125 people and businesses help to keep most of our festival free.  The support of the downtown businesses is also greatly appreciated.  It’s fun to see all our Festival t-shirts worn by the staff in the stores and restaurants during the weekend.

Our Steering Committee is exceptional and we want to thank all of them for their hard work over many months to bring about our amazing community gathering for the arts. Add to all of this our festival director and Austin Area Arts board and staff and a great festival occurs!   

It was especially exciting this year with the return of the Gear Daddies and Charlie Parr.  The subsequent class and Tower reunions made for a fun, unique weekend.   

Another Purchase Award and City Award were chosen this year and we are very proud of the lasting impact of the Festival with the many artworks displayed in City Hall and in public places around the city.

Co-chairing this festival has been such an  honor and privilege and we are so grateful to the many wonderful people we have had the opportunity to work with.  We are so pleased to announce that Jeff Baldus and Lisa Dunlop will be transitioning into the role of our Austin ArtWorks Festival Co-chairs for 2023. 

Jeff has been the co-chair of the Logistics Committee from the very beginning and he brings lots of talents from the many city celebrations he has directed.  Lisa has volunteered at the Festival every year since we started.  She is a super volunteer in so many areas in the city.  Working along with our Austin Area Arts Executive Director Laura Helle, they will make an outstanding Festival Leadership Team.

We are so proud to be living in a city that celebrates the arts.  We look forward to joining in the festivities next year on Aug. 26-27 in our two-hour volunteer slots!

Bonnie Besse Rietz

Mary Anne Wolesky


Austin ArtWorks Festival – 2022