The AJC Decatur Book Festival is getting into the arts biz.
The organizers will devote the physical hub of festival (the MARTA plaza) and three performance spaces to art/DBF, a celebration of metro Atlanta arts and culture. Some 40 organizations and individual artists will participate, according to Julie Delliquanti, head of public programming at the High Museum of Art and art/DBF curator.
As festival Director Daren Wang points out, the eight-year-old event has collaborated with performance-oriented presenters in the past. This new venture, however, is more intentional and expansive. “We want to embrace the broader arts community,” Wang says.
He considers sharing the audience the festival has built — 75,000-plus generally well-educated visitors — a civic gesture. He also sees it as a vehicle for the creative combustion that can occur when artists from different disciplines get together. (It’s a two-way street, of course. The festival stands to gain visitors who are initially attracted to its arts offerings.)
Atlanta PlanIt, WABE’s online calendar, will host the largest tent on the plaza, in which organizations will dispense information about their work. The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, which will anchor an array of smaller booths representing some 25 organizations, will mount, aptly, “Word!,” an exhibition of work by metro artists and others. Among other participants, the Museum of Design Atlanta is planning a participatory design project, and Film Love will host a micro cinema.
Stuart Horodner, artistic director of the Contemporary, is optimistic about this opportunity to tap a new audience. “Of all the festivals, this one is most likely to have a possible audience for the center who might not know about us,” he says.
The performing arts will be well represented. The Decatur Recreation Center’s Dance Studio will host seven groups, including Staibdance and Full Radius Dance, on Saturday, and five theater groups, including Actor’s Express and Theatrical Outfit, will present a theater marathon at Decatur High School on Sunday. And the community bandstand adjacent to the plaza will offer storytelling and music all day long.
As an added bonus, “Hidden Away”, a nocturnal experience of movement, theater and literature by Nicole Livieratos and Phillip DePoy, at the Decatur branch of the DeKalb Public Library, will coincide with the festival.
In announcing what he hopes is a transformational program, Wang quips, “We’re going to have to rename Decatur ‘Artsburg.’ “