Elevate, the downtown arts festival that began last year, is back. Running from October 19 to 27, it will not only showcase art and performances by local and international artists but also encompass a 5K run and daily arts tours. This year’s festival will be shorter and will show fewer, though better funded, projects than last year’s. But it has expanded its purview from Underground Atlanta to all of downtown and even, symbolically, to Atlanta’s sister city in France, via a performance by Pierre Rigal Dance of Toulouse.
Elevate is presented by the Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as schools, museums and art collectives. Highlights will include:
Banho de Luz. The festival opens with this mixed-media site-specific installation, which incorporates works by Roni Nicole Henderson, Linda Costa and Lillian Blades. In addition to using LED-spangled tapestries to alter the site and its monument, the evening will involve “photographic ‘light painting’ ” and performance. 8-11 p.m. Friday, October 19. Peachtree Street at Baker Street.
Back on My Feet 5K Art Run. Guided by Back on My Feet, an organization that strives to inspire independence and self-sufficiency among the homeless, this scenic race will incorporate large-scale murals and spoken-word performances by Avien Reese, Jessica Caldas and others. Noon-2 p.m. Saturday, October 20. The start and finish line will be at Trinity House/Big Bethel AME Church.
Daily Downtown Art Tour. This 10-block walk will focus on new and other public art, temporary or permanent, in Atlanta’s onetime central business district. Led by the Office of Cultural Affairs. Noon-2 p.m. October 22-24 and 26; 6-8 p.m. October 25. Starting point: Peachtree Center Plaza.
The Imaginary Million. An exhibition, auction and gala surrounding works by 100 artists (including, full disclosure, myself) that gives each participant $10,000 in nonlegal tender to bid on art in the show. TIM will have a preview, led by some of the participating artists, at 7 p.m. Monday, October 22; the main event is 7-11 p.m. Wednesday, October 24. Presented by WonderRoot, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and Kennesaw State University. 200 Peachtree Building (the former Downtown Macy’s).
Elevate South Broad Street Mural Festival. Set along the once-thriving commercial corridor south of MARTA’s Five Points transit station, the closing event of Elevate 2012 will celebrate five new works of public art. The artists — identified only as Tilt, Sever, Push, Hense and Born — can be seen at work on the murals October 21-27, and all simultaneously from noon to 6 p.m. October 26. Cameras and sketch pads are encouraged at the street party, 4-8 p.m. Saturday, October 27, where party-goers can “eat, dance, play and paint,” with performances by the Atlanta Music Project and Pierre Rigal Dance.