Photo by Scogin Mayo courtesy of ATTPAC.

Visual Arts

Mini-Aurora to Light Up Arts District This Fall

Organizers of the massive outdoor art festival also plan to expand Aurora to multiple nights in 2017.

The biennial “open-air urban playground of new media art” that is Aurora won’t return until 2017, but an off-year event will illuminate the AT&T Performing Arts Center on Oct. 21 and 22. “Prelude” will be a teaser for next year’s Aurora, Dallas’ take on a European-style White Night.

Per a press release from ATTPAC:

Prelude, which remains free to the public, will have a more compact footprint transforming parts of the AT&T Performing Arts Center campus and the Meyerson Symphony Center with light, video and sound-based, immersive arts installations.

Details on the artists involved with “Prelude” have not been announced, but 10 works are expected, and live music courtesy of Brave Combo and Larry g(EE), respectively, will kick off each night of the mini-Aurora. Guest curators include Justine Ludwig, Nadim Samman, and Dooeun Choi.

Organizers are also already planning for next year. The 2015 edition of Aurora brought nearly 50,000 people downtown to see a panoply of light and video art. The Arts District was happily packed, and the event was a resounding success by most metrics. Nevertheless, overwhelming crowds, the quality, quantity, and locations of the art, as well as the limitations of a one-night-only program meant that many of those 50,000 people had justifiable complaints about the festival. Along with those natural growing pains, we wrote at the time that Aurora faces something of an identity crisis as a massive street festival that should also function as a tasteful, intelligent art exhibition.

Judging from the ATTPAC press release, some of those complaints have been taken to heart. Mayor Mike Rawlings and ATTPAC President and CEO Doug Curtis are quoted supporting the idea of spreading Aurora to multiple nights. Here’s Curtis:

“We know visitors still want that unique and intimate experience with the art. Spreading the visitors over more nights, and fine tuning the location of the art and signage, should help boost the artistic impact and provide new strategies as we plan for another major Aurora year in 2017.”

For now, there’s the two-night “Prelude,” and, the night before, in a prelude to the prelude, a ticketed fundraiser at ATTPAC featuring performances by Neon Indian and Zhora. Go here for more info.