Would you like to have something really different to do on, say, a lovely Saturday evening in the spring?
Well, pine no longer, because this Saturday night, in the Loft District downtown, you can take in the second annual staging of a truly unusual arts event.
Called Paint the Town Red (PTTR), it is an innovative fundraiser for the Birmingham chapter of the American Red Cross.
The brick walls and store fronts of Second Avenue North in the Loft District will be transformed into projection surfaces for new, digitally created works of art—including graphic art, digital animated shorts and digitally altered photography.
The idea for PTTR came from Kevin Burke, marketing and public support officer for the Birmingham chapter of the Red Cross. Burke got the idea for the event after attending The Digital Graffiti Festival, held yearly in Alys Beach, a resort community in the Florida Panhandle.
Digital Graffiti bills itself as the world’s first outdoor projection art festival, with artists using the newest technologies to project original video art onto the town’s white walls and rooftops.
This technique of projecting images onto available surfaces in urban environments, thereby temporarily transforming them, is sometimes called “Photon Bombing,” “Guerilla Projection” or “Urban Projection.” Artists around the world have done it more than a decade, but now PTTR takes its place among the few events in the world to provide a showcase for this new form of expression.
Artists from across the country submit work to PTTR, according to the organizers, and all artwork is accepted for consideration. The submissions are then judged by a panel of artists, art collectors and other digital media experts.
The judges narrow the list of entries down to a group of about 50, and then pick what they believe to be the best work in each of three categories—digital photography, digital graphic art, and digital animation or short film. The judges also pick the work they believe to be the best of show.
In addition to tempting visuals, PTTR will offer live music, other street entertainers and food.
The musical line-up at the event’s Main Stage will include The Hearts, The Weeks, Sharrif Simmons, Todd Simpson and Mojo Child, The Enemy Lovers and Matthew May?eld.
Birmingham’s GreyHaven Music Community is teaming with PTTR to present 10 singer/songwriters at the GreyHaven Community Stage.
The musical options will also include DJ Coco and a slate of other DJs performing at PTTR’s Digital Music Experience.
The street entertainers will include a drum line, belly dancers, break dancers, theater performances and skateboarding demonstrations provided by Faith Skate Supply.
Rogue Tavern and Urban Standard, both located on Second Avenue, will set up food tents. The Wine Loft, located on First Avenue North, will host the official PTTR after-party and will donate 15% of all drink sales that night to the Red Cross.
“This event is poised to become one of Birmingham’s ‘must-do’ cultural events,” according to Atticus Rominger, one of the event’s organizers. “We want people to come sample something this city has never seen before, something that highlights the creative capital that is ?ourishing in Birmingham.”
In addition to raising funds for the Red Cross, the event focuses attention on the work that the Red Cross does in the community. Most people are familiar with the blood services and disaster relief services that the Red Cross provides, but the organization also provides health and safety classes; community education, including fire safety and disaster preparedness workshops; and workplace safety training, including first aid and CPR training. The Red Cross will have an information tent on the grounds of the festival.
The 2010 edition of Paint the Town Red will be held Saturday, April 17, from 6-11 p.m., on Second Avenue between 22nd and 24th Streets North. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate and can be purchased at www.paintthetownredbham.com. The web site also includes more information about the music and other entertainment at the festival.