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.
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.
The festival occupies a long swath of First Street and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Kids under 12 are free; parking and shuttle service from One Texas Center is equally costless. Your two-day pass also includes discounts at participating Second Street District retailers, free admission to the Austin Museum of Art-Downtown and Blanton Museum of Art, plus a 10% discount at the museum stores.
1020 Glass Art and Decor takes its name from its mission to provide exquisite artwork to everyday people by often pricing its handmade glass creations between $10 and $20. Behind the downtown Austin’s space-age art-deco storefront, their sales team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable designers and art experts as they amass a collection of more than 5,000 glass vases, drink sets, bowls, figurines, and chandeliers. As a locally-owned business, 1020 takes pride in its community and boosts the city’s culture scene by employing 10 highly trained in-house art consultants. They also give back through charitable functions and support of area nonprofits, such as Project Transitions’s hospice and housing care for HIV and AIDS patients. The designers even show their love for their home state through their inventory, with a number of Texas-themed pieces available for purchase, such as a majestic longhorn steer, a golden-horn wine stopper, or a miniaturized Lyle Lovett imprisoned in a crystal paperweight.
Every year, more than 75,000 visitors—from schoolchildren to serious art collectors—visit the Mexic-Arte Museum in downtown Austin. They come to see the innovative exhibitions, explore the collections, and soak up the resources that have made the museum a go-to source for educational and cultural programming. Designated as the Official Mexican and Mexican-American Fine Art Museum of Texas, Mexic-Arte was founded by a group of artists in 1984; it's one of the few museums in the United States dedicated to Mexican art. Mexic-Arte showcases the works of both established and emerging artists from Mexico, the United States, and Latin America, allowing them to reach a large audience without having to create extra-large pieces to unravel from the tops of nearby skyscrapers.