Everyone has a different vision of how their living space should look, which is why ART on 5th fills its three-level, 6,000-square-foot gallery with art to suit all tastes. Works by notable names such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Theodor Seuss Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—rub shoulders with rotating collections from some 60 lesser-known artists.
In addition to displaying fine paintings, ART on 5th offers custom-framing services, and backs each of its frames with a lifetime guarantee. The store’s artisans meticulously choose a flattering frame for each piece from more than 3,000 styles—helping artwork mesh stylistically with its destination, be it a living-room wall or an endless hall of mirrors. They eschew colored, paper mats in favor of neutral-toned, hand-wrapped linen mats, leaving some wiggle room between art and frame and imbuing each piece with richness and depth. Each frame is hung with kevlar, a bulletproof material that prevents damage caused by rusted hanging wires and showboating ’80s action-movie stars.
Art can be divisive, but playtime is not. Maybe that’s why Art Alliance Austin chose red rope swings hung in surprise downtown areas to headline the 2012 Art City Austin festival. Courtesy of Austin’s The Red Swing Project, a collective dedicated to transforming neglected urban areas into welcoming play spaces, the swings are just one example of the partnerships Art Alliance Austin makes to achieve its goal of building community through local art projects. And considering Austin’s explosive growth in recent years, that mission is timelier than ever. “It all comes down to creating spaces for a common narrative, a common culture, and common experience to emerge,” explains Art Alliance Austin’s communications liaison Michu Benaim. “And we can achieve that by encouraging people to connect.” Art Alliance Austin designs its annual festivals to be as much block parties as art shows—Michu describes Art City Austin, for example, as local, homegrown, and neighborly. Since 1956, the group has woven its philosophies into Austin's pulse during its many shows, festivals, and events, which have included Art Night Austin, Art Week Austin, and coproduction of Pecha Kucha Austin, each one helping ensure the city remains a vibrant and creative place to live.
To avoid last year's embarrassment of inventing modern art 90 years after the fact, it might do you good to visit an art museum and see what art movements already exist. Marvel and muse among the aesthetically astute with today's Groupon: for $30, you'll get a yearlong household membership to both locations of the Austin Museum of Art. Benefits include:
Austin Details Art + Photo's solo and collaborative exhibitions display and sell artwork from a host of established artists. Photographer Jann Alexander snaps shots of Vanishing Austin to create a collection that showcases classic landmarks with vivid color and dynamic compositions. The 24"x36" Endangered Species of Austin poster assembles a survey of the show's images, including the Alamo Draft House, land-dwelling whales, and the State Theatre's scarlet sign set against a blue sky. Alexander's John Hancock graces 5"x7" prints of pieces such as Custard v Condos and Night Flight⎯windows into the city's iconic signage⎯as well as Competition, a visual narrative of Austin's architecture in a single frame. Alternatively, Groupon customers may opt to shop from other galleries, although availability of prints varies among artists. Art aficionados may also take advantage of an array of services such as fine-art printing, educational workshops, and spa treatments for overworked canvases.
For eight years running, The Company Theatre's B. Iden Payne award-winning actor J. Damian Gillen has been rallying seasonal spirits throughout Texas with his 60-minute one-man productions of Charles Dickens's beloved A Christmas Carol. Audience members can bring a blanket and find a spot among the 600 seats of the Arneson River Theatre on the historical San Antonio Riverwalk, where breathtaking holiday displays and glimmering lights will stoke festive feelings before the curtain rises. The talented thespian takes the stage as the tale's full range of characters, transmogrifying from Scrooge to Bob Crochet to Tiny Tim with biology-baffling ease. Costume changes and special effects add to the plausibility of Scrooge's heartwarming transformation, which will tug at the audience's heartstrings, then pull them out and knit them into a Christmas sweater. The December 17 performance is one of 30 shows in a 30-day tour of local venues and private functions throughout Texas.