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.