Art NotesArts & Culture

Printmaking, Steel Blossoms and ’90s Nostalgia

ART PARTY: Now that Creature Comforts has officially launched Get Artistic, its new campaign for supporting the local arts community, it’s time to buckle down and raise some funds. The brewery will host its quarterly Art Party on Friday, July 27 from 5–10 p.m. A pop-up print show will offer a variety of limited-edition works by over a dozen local artists, with all prints priced under $100 and 10 percent of sales benefiting the initiative. Additionally, there will be a DIY screen-printing station running from 6–9 p.m. where guests are invited to pull their own copy for $5 a pop. The mission of Get Artistic is to support artists, musicians, writers and other members of the creative class by funding curated exhibitions, grant opportunities, performances and enrichment activities. 

The evening doubles as the premiere of Creature Comforts’ new coloring pages. Designed by brewery staff artists Melissa Merrill and May Hitchings, the images will be screen-printed onto collectible pages, and are the first installment of a yearlong fundraising project that will feature other artists down the line. Live music will be performed by psychedelic looping songstress Lea Lea (7:30 p.m.); Birmingham, AL indie-pop band The Old Paints (8 p.m.); and Avery Leigh’s Night Palace, which is back in town from NYC for the summer (9 p.m.). The Art Party is all-ages and free to attend. 

TRAIL BLOSSOMS: Larger-than-life flowers have sprouted up at Dudley Park—17 feet tall, to be exact. An official unveiling party will be held to celebrate the completion of Richard Herzog’s new sculpture, “Trail Blossoms,” on Friday from 7–8:30 p.m. 

Taking inspiration from the rails-to-trails project and alternate modes of transportation, the Athens-based sculptor and installation artist altered components of skateboards and bicycles into petals and leaves. Many of his works seek to mimic organic patterns using manmade materials, a juxtaposition that bridges the disconnection between society and nature. Fabricated in steel, the bright yellow and orange flowers have leaves that create shade for the benches below. 

“Trail Blossoms” is the latest public art project spearheaded by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission in collaboration with the Athens-Clarke County Public Art Master Plan, SPLOST and a citizens group. The unveiling party features frozen treats from the Lil’ Ice Cream Dude and music by local hip-hop artist Seline Haze, and will be followed with a post-party joyride led by Bike Athens.

1996: Trio Contemporary Art Gallery will host an opening reception for the new group exhibition “1996” on Friday from 7–9 p.m. Co-curated by Maggie Seee and Tatiana Veneruso, the show pays tribute to the bygone era of frosted tips, Beanie Babies and glitter gel pens. Seee, who was nine years old in 1996, recalls it as a memorable year on a personal level, because her mother married her stepfather, she went to camp at Athens Creative Theater, and she saw soccer during the Olympics. 

“We were balancing the fashion choices of Barbies with wanting to watch Clueless like the older girls. Torn between wanting to wear flare jeans and eye glitter like the Spice Girls, and Umbros and soccer cleats like Mia Hamm,” says Seee, sharing memories of her childhood best friend. “It just feels like a pure time when I look back. When the idea hit me, my oldest daughter was also 9. She’s about to turn 10 in August, and it feels like I simultaneously can’t slow time down or speed it up enough for her.”

For “1996,” Seee will display a portrait of an alien girl—a character who has recurred throughout her artwork since around 1996—sporting a jean vest, Blossom hat and Tamagotchi in hand. Works by roughly 20 artists will be included, like Jennie Cain, Raoul de la Cruz, Dan Litzinger, Jennifer Niswonger-Morris, Triplebummer and Vivienne Varay. “1996” will be on view through Sept. 15.

BRIAN HITSELBERGER: Make sure to get a good night’s rest, then wake up for an Afternoon with Open Studios Artist Brian Hitselberger at the Lyndon House Arts Center on Saturday, July 28 at 4 p.m. As an Artist in Residence, the printmaker has spent the summer developing a full body of work using the center’s studios as a workspace. During the reception, attendees are invited to check out his latest creations, which experiment with shape, color relationships and various relief processes that add layers and depth to large-format works on paper. 

Hitselberger is the third artist who has been selected for the AIR program, following Zane Cochran and David Hale. His residency is supported by a faculty development grant from Piedmont College in Demorest, where he works as an associate professor of arts. In addition to his passion for printmaking, he received an MFA in painting from UGA in 2010.