Chattanooga’s arts community comes together for spark, a right brain celebration, from April 11-21. This collaborative arts festival encompasses literature, technology, history, visual arts, performing arts, music and more into 11 days of events happening throughout Chattanooga.
spark’s kickoff event, Scenic City Roots, will take place at Track 29 on Thursday at 6 p.m. The show, hosted by Jim Lauderdale, will feature the Whiskey Gentry, Roger Alan Wade, Scott Miller and Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band.
The same weekend, April 12-14, the Association for Visual Arts hosts the 4 Bridges Arts Festival for the thirteenth year, bringing top visual artists and artisans from all over the country to Chattanooga. The festival begins with the “V.I.P.P.”, Very Important Preview Party on Friday evening. This is a chance to get a first peek at the art, enjoy food and drink, live music from the WTM Blues Band, talk with the artists and friends and purchase art prior to the festival opening.
The following weekend, April 18-20, welcomes the Celebration of Southern Literature to town for the 34th year. Approximately 1,000 people from over 30 states attend the conference to see their favorite writers participate in discussions, readings, workshops and book signings. The CSL, produced by the Southern Lit Alliance, was described by writer and critic Louis D. Rubin, Jr., as "the leading literary event of the south." This year’s lineup of literary greats includes Richard Bausch, Ron Rash, Roy Blount, Jr., Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Matraca Berg, Marshall Chapman, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley.
spark will culminate in a finale weekend on April 19 and 20 at Ross’ Landing. The “Chatty Crafty spark Bazaar” will fill up the green on the waterfront with handmade and vintage vendors from all over the country. Street performers will be placed in strategic points within the downtown and NorthShore areas throughout the day on Saturday. Live, local music will be featured from 5-9:30 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m.-9:45 p.m. on Saturday. The music will end on Saturday with a set from Nashville-based band Great Peacock and a headlining performance by the nationally-touring band, The Greencards. The finale will conclude with a unique fireworks display following The Greencards’ performance.
With nearly 100 events, spark will highlight a broad spectrum of art and culture. By exposing the region to a plethora of high-caliber, exciting, arts-focused events, spark will present and promote Chattanooga’s intrinsic creativity to residents and visitors, officials said.
“With the cooperation of many partners within the arts community, spark celebrates the best of a collaborative, public-private spirit and is guaranteed to be a strong representation of creative culture in Chattanooga,” said Verina Baxter, sculptor and former president of the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance. “Like last year’s celebration, spark will be filled with a wide, diverse variety of quality programming, which will appeal to people of every background, making the arts accessible for all.”
Visit www.sparkartschattanooga.com for more information.
Here are the spark events for Thursday:
Noon - Art Halo
Location: Throughout Downtown
Public Art Chattanooga has a collection of over 100 works of art throughout the city. As part of spark, the public is encouraged to get out and interact with the collection. By utilizing a smart phone or tablet and a little creativity, participants can take part in this virtual scavenger hunt. ArtHalo is a virtual public art exhibit in downtown Chattanooga which uses augmented reality technology. Twelve ArtHalos have been virtually placed near works of public art for participants to find with a smart phone or tablet. Once they find an ArtHalo, they become the artist. Use a smart phone or tablet, take a photo of the ArtHalo, and upload and share to facebook and the instagram ArtHalo Gallery. As images are uploaded, they can be instantly viewed in the photo feed. In addition, one of the photographs may be chosen as the ArtHalo Favorite and featured on the Facebook page and website, www.arthalochattanooga.com.
7 p.m. - Bessie Smith Birthday Celebration/Jazz Appreciation
Location: Bessie Smith Cultural Center
This event is an educational and entertaining show about the life of Bessie Smith that includes a multimedia aspect that contains clips of interviews with Bessie's niece. The presentation includes many songs of Bessie that tells her life story. The second part of the show features various jazz standards that celebrate the history of jazz and the influence many jazz artists made on contemporary artists. Tickets are $10 at the door.
7 p.m. - Scenic City Roots
Location: Track 29
Heng Dai Media producers Todd Mayo and John Walker are pleased to announce a Tennessee concert venture with Scenic City Roots, Live From Track 29. It premiered in Chattanooga on March 7, and takes place once monthly, Thursdays, at Track 29. Shows begin at 7 p.m. The show will be filmed and streamed in high definition live online each month and Chattanooga PBS affiliate, WTCI, will air the program on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. each week, starting in April. Visit www.sceniccityroots.com for more details.
8 a.m. – Dewdles
Location: Coolidge Park
10 a.m. - Beauty Beyond Nature & Exploring the Land
Location: Hunter Museum of American Art
Noon - Belly Dance Classes
Location: Zanzibar Studio
Noon - Sparking with Paint
Location: Miller Plaza
5 p.m. - Student Arts Exhibit Opening
Location: Hamilton County Courthouse
5 p.m. - The Local Hero Project
Location: Mellow Mushroom
6 p.m. - Unique Glimpse Art
Location: Pamela & John Henry Studio
Finale Weekend Music Schedule
Friday, April 19
5 p.m. Smooth Dialects
6 p.m. Small Opera - The Robin Woman
7:30-8:30 p.m. Rigoletto
8:45-9:15 p.m. Sparkz
Saturday, April 20
11 a.m. Ogya
12 p.m. Slim Pickins
1 p.m. River City Red Hots
2 p.m. Woodford Sessions and Ryan Oyer
3 p.m. Small Opera - The Robin Woman
4:15 p.m. The Creative Underground (Shane Morrow)
5:15 p.m. Rick Rushing
6:30 p.m. Great Peacock
8:15 p.m. The Greencards
9:45 p.m. Firework finale