It's sink or swim time again in a notably not-so-quiet corner of downtown -- ye of feeble cultural constitution best not forget yer' water wings. Art Splash is back, and the "eclectic extravaganza" guarantees to pry even the most unlearned C.Springstaceon out of its shell.
A collaborative of artists have united under one funky banner to raise money for TIE, a group whose aim is to "illuminate experimental film ... as well as join, recognize, and serve filmmakers dedicated to the art and experimentation of the celluloid motion picture."
Organizer Gwin Coleman pioneered both Art Splash I and Art Wars last year, raising money for local dance at Fusion Pointe Studios and for FutureSelf, a nonprofit that mentors at-risk youth through art workshops. Both shows boasted healthy crowds, proving that not all of our villagers avoid the arts like a filthy toddler running from bath time. Art appreciation is actually far from dead in Colorado Springs.
"I felt the need to create something more energetic for our art scene," said Coleman. "I wanted to organize different age groups, get more people involved, and get people to support our local artists. ... When I moved here I noticed that what we call our 'art district' only consisted of a couple buildings under a highway. ... I wanted to change that."
Art Splash brought together an impressive mezcla of local talent, and some participants are returning for round two. Art Wars added to the mix an executioner who spilled the innocent paint of one unlucky artwork that didn't sell to crowd members -- a chainsaw slashed the piece to bits to howling cheers of a bloodthirsty mob. ArtSplash II hails back to the roots of the first show, boasting a diverse cast of players hailing from all over the arts spectrum.
Among the participating artists this time around are Tish Lacy Reed, John Sherman, Douglas Rouse and Lelia Demello. Three bands, including Denver's Chronophonic, an eight-piece jazz and hip-hop group, will play beginning at around 9 p.m. Local dance artists will lend their talents starting around 8 p.m., among them: Brazilian Capoeira, break dancing by The Dance Extreme Company, and belly dancers Mahisha and Taka. Spika will share his talents via a special performance art piece, and Glitterific, a face and body painting co-op, will also be on hand for those interested in truly getting wet.
"It's the most entertainment you are going to find in one night for the price," said Coleman.
A series of local poets, including Kevin Rorke, Kris Harlow and Aaron Anstett will also perform throughout the evening. Atomic Elroy's Chaos Studios will provide a viewing room in which patrons can check out film projects to gain more understanding about the medium that the night's proceeds will benefit.
Don't forget to slide some extra ones in your wallet next to your drinkin' dowry; there'll be a raffle dishing out "bucketloads" of prizes.
If nothing in Artsplash II's substantial lineup remotely sounds tempting, then you may just want to swear off adventure altogether and play it safe with a nice paint-by-number coloring book at home. But be warned, it may be Art Wars again next time -- and the executioner won't be happy to hear that you missed another pool party.
-- Matthew Schniper
Art Splash II, presented by Funktion Flux Productions
32 Bleu, 32 S. Tejon St.
Wednesday, July 21, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m., open to the public.
Tickets are $10 (all ages); 955-5664 or www.32Bleu.com
Call 331-1438 for information, or visit