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Art festival takes over downtown Austin with different forms of expression

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) – A celebration of visual, performing and literary art, the 8th annual Austin Artworks Festival features 57 artists from seven states, who are selected by a jury of professional artists.

“I met a number of people here with who I formed good friendships,” said New York Times bestselling mystery author William Kent Krueger. “Over the years, I’ve been invited back. As often as I can, I try to return.”

Two of the artists present are recent Austin High School graduates.

In addition to the art, there are also family friendly activities such as painting a VW beetle, pinata making, a harmonica class and more.

“Lots going on. A family activities tent, demonstration artists, glass blowing, pottery wheel throwing, just about something for everybody,” said festival co-chair Mary Anne Wolesky.

This year’s featured artist, Rory Wakemup, blends his Native American heritage with pop culture. On display this weekend are his Star Wars themed costumes that he uses in performances.

“We’re kind of flipping the script and taking it back, so to say, to honor ourselves,” Wakemup explained.

He hopes that through his art, people can learn things about his culture.

“Understand that we’re still alive and human today and that we’re humorous,” said Wakemup. “We use humor to heal and if we can all laugh together and move on, that’d be great.”

The artists say that they never have trouble with inspiration and that ideas flow out of them.

“A lot of ideas pop in and out but then there’s some I hold on to and make sure they happen,” Wakemup said.

“I have so many stories to tell, I will probably never live long enough to tell them all,” Krueger said.

Max Weinberg’s Jukebox closes out Saturday’s fun at the Paramount Theater and families enjoy live music on different stages all weekend.

“The weather is perfect,” said Wolesky. “It’s our best year ever for weather so we hope you come out and enjoy the arts.”

The Austin Artworks Festival continues Sunday from 10 to 4 and features a performer by Austin native Charlie Parr before he embarks on a European tour.

Alex Tejada

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