Magic and a kickoff

Kevin Spencer

Kevin Spencer

The Austin Area Commission for the Arts is partnering with the I.J. Holton Intermediary School in providing its first multi-day residency with a visiting artist.

Kevin Spencer from The Spencer’s Theatre of Illusion will be in town starting Monday to begin working with a small group of general education and special needs students. He will lead them through his Hocus Focus program, which is a student-centered, experiential-based educational approach that utilizes the art of magic in the context of empowering an educator/student relationship with the objective of student growth and development.

The residency will be followed up by a public performance of Theatre of Illusion at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Historic Paramount Theatre. This is the third event in the 2014 Paramount Performance Series brought to you by Eastwood Bank. The performance is also supported in part by the Arts Midwest Tour Grant and the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council through the Arts and Cultural Legacy Fund.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Students 12 and under receive a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Also on Thursday, a group of Austin community members will gather in Sen. Dan Sparks’s office at the State Capitol at 9:30 a.m. to kickoff the 2014 Austin ArtWorks Festival in conjunction with Arts Advocacy Day. Artist and Austin native Eric Anfinson has graciously offered his piece, “The Guardian,” to be displayed in Sen. Sparks’s office to promote and raise awareness of the festival.

This year’s event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 23 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 24 in the Historic Downtown Power Plant located at 501 Fourth Ave. NE.

Twin Cities based muralist Jimmy Longoria has also offered a piece to hang in Rep. Jeanne Poppe’s office. Jimmy has led children in painting murals in the past two ArtWorks Festivals and will return in 2014.

Then on at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Austin Area Commission for the Arts is partnering with Rotaract to present “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show: A Comedy Night featuring Benny Quash with Logan Neilsen, Jeff Larson, Laura Thorne and Lindsay Hensel as the emcee. Tickets are $10 advance, and $12 at the door. All tickets can be purchased online at austinareaarts.org, over the phone at 507-434-0934 or at the Paramount Box Office Tuesday-Friday 12

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