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Size Matters

Art projects alter reality in Eureka Springs

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Size matters. Or it doesn't. It depends on which project you peruse during next month's May Festival of the Arts in Eureka Springs.

Mackenzie Doss worked with Edward C. Robison III on an augmented reality project for this year’s May Festival of the Arts in Eureka Springs. Using a s...

"May Festival of the Arts has been the catalyst for tourism, creativity, cultural expression, culinary and literary experiences, installation of public art and a truly authentic arts and culture immersion that can only happen in Eureka Springs, Arkansas," says Sandy Royce Martin, one of the 2017 festival producers. "In celebration of the 30th anniversary, May Festival of the Arts is going 'ArtRageous to the MAX' as we pay tribute to one of Eureka Springs' most loved artists, Max Elbo, who passed away in January of this year.

FAQ

May Festival of the Arts

WHEN — May 1-31

WHERE — Eureka Springs

COST — Varies by event

INFO — eurekaspringsfestivalofthearts.com

FYI

May Festival of the Arts

Highlights

May 4 — Unveiling of “A Eurekan Spectacle,” 6 p.m., Basin Park

May 5 — Unveiling of “Four Seasons,” 6 p.m., Basin Park; Plein Air Painters of Eureka Springs reception at Main Stage, 5-8 p.m.

May 6 — Artrageous to the Max Parade, 2 p.m., Spring Street; drumming, 6-8 p.m., Basin Park

May 7 — “Dance of Deceit,” 2 p.m., Eureka Springs City Auditorium

May 8 — Unveiling of “Bridge of Love,” 10 a.m., Basin Spring Bath House bridge

May 12 — Uncorked with Rigdon, 7-11 p.m., Eureka Springs Event Center

May 13 — Art & Music in the Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Basin Park; Make Your Own Mobile, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Basin Park; Spirited Wine Tour, 1-4 p.m., Brews, Keels Creek Winery & Railway Winery; Grand Gallery Stroll, 6-9 p.m., Spring Street; Ozarks Chorale Concert, 7:30 p.m., Eureka Springs City Auditorium

May 14 — “Bridge of Love” community photo, 1:30 p.m., Basin Spring Bath House bridge; John Two-Hawks’ Mother’s Day concert, 2 p.m., Eureka Springs City Auditorium

May 19 — White Street Walk, 4-10 p.m., White Street

May 20 — Art in the Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Basin Park; Birdcage Art Bazaar, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., The Birdcage on Spring Street; Grady Nichols in concert, 5-7 p.m., Basin Park

May 21-25 — Eureka Springs Plein Air Festival, around town

May 21 — Books in Bloom, noon-5 p.m., Crescent Hotel

May 24 — Plein Air Festival, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Basin Park

May 28 — Dancing in the Park, 1-3 p.m., Basin Park

"Max did one of the first posters promoting May Festival of the Arts," Martin goes on to explain, "and the original poster artwork is being re-produced as our 30-year commemorative poster. Max will be celebrated as the 2017 ArtRageous Parade grand marshal represented in the lead car by his famous guitar, blues hat and carved cane."

But among the 75 to 100 events that will mark the May festival -- everything from Art in the Park to the wildly popular White Street Walk to Books in Bloom -- one of them is larger than life. And one makes life larger than it is.

Titled "The Eurekan Spectacle," Mackenzie Doss' project involves Shakespeare, smart phones and augmented reality. "I wanted to do something that would be fresh and fun for the public," she says.

Inspired by photographer Edward C. Robison III, Doss started thinking about augmented reality, then pitched him a plan. She would write and edit scenes from "The Tempest," which would be filmed against a green screen by local actors. Thanks to an app called Wikitude, beginning May 4 the scenes can viewed "in" Eureka Springs locations, beginning with Basin Park.

"A sign will say download the app and then stand here and point [your smart phone camera]," Doss says. "And it will start playing the opening scene from 'The Tempest.'"

In all, there will be six locations and seven interactive posters advertising May Fest events.

"Augmented reality is a new technology, still in development," Doss says. "It's something people haven't really seen before -- and that's what I wanted it be."

Soaring above Basin Park will be a somewhat more traditional artwork that every visitor to the Carroll County community will see in May. Longtime Eureka artist, actress, director, producer and personality Janet Alexander has created "Four Seasons," which takes her evolving creation of powder-coated metals to new heights -- literally.

"It all started with one of my dearest mentors, Nancy Wines. She owns The Jewel Box in downtown Eureka Springs and was the first to carry my jewelry," Alexander says. "Nancy knew I loved to make big pieces, large necklaces with strong character. She suggested that I honor that desire and try creating mobiles and kinetic art. So -- BAM -- mobiles!

"Soon after I began, I was invited to a themed group show at Brews, a very hot cultural hangout downtown," she goes on. "This started a rapid firing of my creative synapses. I challenged myself to make a piece as large as my studio would hold. And I did, creating a 6-foot-by-8-foot monster of remarkable beauty."

John Rankine, another longtime Eureka artist, put a bug in Alexander's ear at the artists' reception: "Wouldn't a giant mobile look great in Basin Spring Park" for the May art festival. "I agreed," Alexander says, "and almost instantly my brain split the idea into four giant mobiles."

With creative partner John Stalling, Alexander built an oven to fire the pieces and created something never seen in Eureka before. After its debut on May 5, viewers will get a chance to be part of the art on May 13, when they can make a mini mobile "to take home in remembrance of Eureka Springs 30th Annual May Festival of the Arts!"

NAN What's Up on 04/21/2017

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