ArtSlam returns to Bradenton's Old Main Street

After an 18-month hiatus, the huge celebration of art and music is back

mclear@bradenton.comMarch 6, 2014 

Bradenton's ArtSlam is back, and it's back on Old Main Street.

The city's massive celebration of music, performing arts and visual arts is from noon until 10 p.m. Saturday. It's the fourth edition of the festival, but there was no ArtSlam in 2013.

Realize Bradenton, the organization behind ArtSlam, opted to move the event to the spring. Part of the reason was to put some space between ArtSlam and the Bradenton Blues Festival, which Realize Bradenton stages in early December.

"We had always done ArtSlam in the fall," said Johnette Isham, the executive director of Realize Bradenton. "ArtSlam and the Blues Festival are the two biggest events we put on every year, so we decided to move ArtsSlam to the spring."

That's a good thing for Bradenton residents, because two of the city's biggest outdoor entertainment events don't butt up against each other in the fall. But it also lessens the strain on Realize Bradenton's staff, and lets them devote their full attention to each event.

ArtSlam is such a big deal that putting it on twice in six months wasn't feasible. So after the fall 2012 event, which was just weeks before the first Bradenton Blues Festival, Realize Bradenton opted to skip 2013 and come back bigger and better than ever for ArtSlam 2014.

ArtSlam is also moving back to its original home on Old Main Street this year. Old Main Street hosted ArtSlam for its first two years, but when Riverwalk opened, ArtSlam moved there for 2012.

For this year, Arts Slam will be centered on Old Main Street, with events at surrounding downtown locations. Pedicabs and trolleys -- another new addition to the ArtSlam -- will be available to bring people to the various venues.

"We've increased the footprint of ArtSlam, so there are venues off of Old Main Street," Isham said. "One thing Realize Bradenton wants to do is increase the transportation options on downtown Bradenton, with options besides cars."

Much of the art at ArtSlam comes from teams organized by local schools and other groups. They'll display their work in installations up and down Old Main Street.

Some of the highlights: Tattoo artists painting brand-new Cadillac (it's actually wrapped in plastic), a culinary event in which food truck chefs will be challenged to create dishes using an ingredient that won't be revealed to them until the last minute, and improv led by Rick Kerby of Manatee Players.But there are more than than two dozen groups offering art around downtown, much of it interactive.

Here's the Old Main Street lineup:

The Human Canvas with Southeast High School: Students will create full-body master paintings while families get faces painted with objects from famous paintings.

Spin Art with New College of Florida and IMG: A spinning apparatus will use dripping paint and centripetal force to create unique works of art. It is an interactive exhibit and participants are encouraged to take their art home.

Riverwalk Collage with Bayshore High School: Large outlined canvases ready to be filled in with images inspired by the Riverwalk. Students will help guide you through the process.

Edible Mosaic Mural with MTI culinary students: A mosaic mural of painted food tiles pieced together to create a 100 percent edible work of art. Delightful to the palate and the art lover's eye.

Introspection with Ringling College of Art and Design: Students will work to create a transparent container that will present altered live image content in a dimensional holographic treatment. Viewers will see themselves as if in front of a mirror ... but with a creative twist.

Green Earth with Lakewood Ranch High School students: Students raising "green" awareness through interactive sculptures displaying "upcycled" art.

State College of Florida Student Portraiture: A live exhibition of portraiture by State College of Florida students.

An Outdoor Gallery Event with TheVillageMagazine.net: Artists from across the region come together showcasing the force of creative young people to create a traditional gallery in a nontraditional space.

3D Chalk Art with Manatee School for the Arts: A 3D work of chalk art on display and will be on display and for interactive pictures.

Experimental Video Projections with Ringling College of Art and Design: Cutting edge and vibrantly colored abstract video will be projecting after dark. This 3D outdoor space will be transformed visually, rather than physically.

All Points to Art with Manatee Art Education Administration: A four-foot-by-eight-foot mural will be painted on-site throughout the day using pointillism.

Creative Caddy Canvas: Tattoo artists will use an ultra luxury green electric Cadillac as a canvas.

Fuzion Dance with Leymis Bolaños Wilmott: Contemporary dance through eclectic performance and educational programming that will interact with artists and community groups to further enrich the human experience.

The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path with Misha Rubenstein: A 30-foot-by-30-foot temporary labyrinth structure out of low-ecological footprint materials. Journey into your creative mind and move within the labyrinth.

Food Truck Wars with Suncoast Food Trucks: Watch the trucks battle it out to mouth-watering proportions with a secret ingredient. War will begin 2:30 p.m. Judging is at 3 p.m.

Get Your Hand Dirty with the Sarasota Chalk Festival: Using chalk as the medium and the pavement surface as the canvas, bring your imagination and get engaged as we bring ideas to life with various designs and bright colors.

Design Your Own Skateboard with The Shop, Skateshop: Come design a skateboard deck. Prizes will be given out each hour donated by The Shop, Skateshop.

Before I Die with Diana Shoemaker and Cindy Shore: A global art project inviting all ages to reflect on their lives and share personal aspirations in a public space giving us all a chance to "ponder life's ultimate question with the people around us."

And off of Old Main Street:

An Outdoor Gallery Event With Plastics Unwrapped at the South Florida Museum: A three-dimensional vignette on the museum's west lawn using "upcycled" materials to create a Floridian ecosystem with foliage, wildlife and an "underwater" scene.

Dramature at the Manatee Performing Arts Center: Producing Artistic Director Rick Kerby and his team at Manatee Players will be doing improv sessions led by members of their senior acting troupe, Dramature.

American Watercolor Society 146th Traveling Exhibition at ArtCenter Manatee: A juried exhibition of watercolors from artists throughout the world.

Live music lineup

There's also live music from area bands all throughout ArtSlam:

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Kristopher James: Acoustic Americana.

1-2 p.m.: Michael Miller: Folk Americana.

3:15-4 p.m.: Del Couch Music Education Foundation: Piano and violin act.

4-5 p.m.: Becca and Dan Duo: Bluegrass. onies with a modern punk edge.

5-6:45 p.m.: A Sunset Drum Circle led by Scott Blum

5:15-6:15 p.m.: Jun Bustamante: Conscious indie folk.

6:30-7:30 p.m.: The Northwest: Alternative Indie Rock.

7:45-8:45 p.m.: Seven Years Past: Florida rock.

9-10 p.m.: The Wallies: American rock.

Details: Noon-10 p.m., March 8, Old Main Street, Bradenton. Tickets: Free. Information: www.realizebradenton.com.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919.

Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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