This year’s Festifall includes ‘Art on the Move’

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 10:07 AM

Visual art has always been a centerpiece of the town’s annual Festifall street fair. This year, festival organizers and the Ackland Art Museum are inviting festival visitors to create their own art.

All you need is a bicycle, tricycle or wagon, and some lightweight building material. The Scrap Exchange of Durham will bring materials that visitors, with the help of local artists, will use to create artwork on their bikes “that reflect their vision of social justice.”

“Art on the Move” dovetails with the exhibit on view at the Ackland, “The Sahmat Collective: Art and Activism in India since 1989.” The Sahmat Collective is a group of Indian artists, formed in 1989, whose work celebrates and advocates freedom of expression, secularism and egalitarianism. In 2001, Sahmat artists staged the first “Art on the Move” in Delhi, creating sculptures with bikes, rickshaws and push carts.

Expanding that idea to Chapel Hill was inspired by what’s going on in the town as well as what originated in India, said Allison Portnow, public programs manager for the Ackland. UNC is at work on a bicycle master plan, and the town also is working to make more bicycle racks available. When she looked at what the Sahmat Collective artists did, she thought it would translate locally to bicycles.

“If we could combine what we’ve got going on in town … with what we’ve been seeing in terms of art … we could combine all of those things and come out with a uniquely Chapel Hill project, even though it had its origins in a country pretty far away,” Portnow said.

The Sahmat artists’ “Art on the Move” reflected issues important to them in their country, and Portnow wants Festifall participants to reflect important issues in their bike sculptures. “To experience the possiblities of making art for social change is one of my main goals,” she said.

“Art on the Move” will be on view during Festifall events.

Here are some other Festifall highlights:

-- Visual artists will have work for sale in a variety of media -- fiber, glass, jewelry, painting, photography, pottery and more. 

-- The Homegrown Stage will have performances from local musicians who have toured nationally and internationally, such as Hindugrass, Tokyo Rosenthal, Tea Cup Gin, A Mad Affair and Pinkerton Raid.

-- The Central Stage is home to Dance Evolution. This award-winning DSI Improv team will emcee and provide interactive, fun, energetic performances to punctuate this line-up of local dance talent. Encore Academy of Dance starts the day off with a showcase of young local dancers. The Cane Creek Cloggers, accompanied by a live group of bluegrass musicians, take the stage to demonstrate the world of N.C. Appalachian percussive dance. Foot Notes Tap Ensemble follows Cane Creek Cloggers. Chapel Hill’s own Dominant Young Souls and UNC Dance Marathon will hold a hip-hop battle.

-- Festifall’s Interactive Mania area brings Poetry Fox back to create on-the-spot poetry for the Festifall crowds. Families can get their faces painted, compete in the Tumble Gym obstacle course and make their own wearable art on the Tie-Dye Bus. The seven-time National Champion Bouncing Bulldogs will demonstrate their jump rope skills while graffiti artist Josh McBride creates a unique work of art.

A free shuttle is available to the festival. For information, visit