by CHARLIE LI
This past weekend, downtown Fredericksburg pulsed with vibrant energy as Art Attack unleashed a massive movement of art and soul-stirring music upon its streets. As it was held in downtown Fredericksburg, University of Mary Washington students were only blocks away from an event that livened up the city.
Art Attack is an open, annual event located in the heart of downtown Fredericksburg every September that encourages artists from around the area to come out and express their art and skills on the streets. Artists were placed on almost every street corner of downtown with the intent to raise awareness for their art regardless of their experience or talent, as well as to promote making art; many workstations offered paint, brushes and large sheets of paper that the community could add to.
Though open and free for artists who wanted to participate, few UMW students had their own designated workstation at the event.
On their website, Art Attack makes a clear statement about how artists should promote themselves through actively creating art and getting to know other creative artists in the area rather than treating the event as a place to sell their work. It’s an inspiring touch to the concept of Art Attack and removes worries of the event turning into a marketplace.
Along with a few other events on Saturday, such as the Fredericksburg Farmers Market and Southern Accents’ alleyway yard sale, downtown was teeming with locals as well as others who had come from the surrounding communities of the greater Fredericksburg area to participate.
Painting in front of Yellow Bike Massage and Wellness was artist Samantha Rivera Perasic, who goes by the name “Toast.” When asked about their artistic pursuits, they said, “I paint a lot, I do some digital art, I do some sculpting; I do a little bit of everything and it’s what I’m in the mood for at the time, really.” They are intrigued with the concept of pop art and being open to all different mediums. “I don’t really limit myself to just one type of thing. If I find something in my studio and I think, ‘oh let me use that today,’ then that’s what I’ll do,” they said.
Down the street and past Southern Accents’ alleyway yard-sale, Ginny Good was also actively painting. She explained her background in art and how her professional work and enjoyment of painting intersected. “I actually graduated from VCU with an art degree of graphic design, and I worked for many years teaching and doing freelance art, but I love painting now, and I love plein-air painting, which is painting outside from life.” When considering her favorite subject matter, she said, “I really prefer landscapes and nature.”
“I don’t do as much city-scape, but I like to go to different events and I saw Art Attack and I thought, ‘I might give it a try,’” said Good when asked about how she became aware about Art Attack. “This is my first year doing it. It has a real nice vibe, a lot of artists here and I’m enjoying it.”
Art Attack was founded by two individuals, Bill Harris and Gabriel Pons, both artists in their own respective mediums, in hopes to create an open space where artists could share creative ideas and thoughts with one another regardless of skill or experience. The first Art Attack event occurred in 2012, and since then, it has become an annual event for the downtown area. Because of its simple organization and style, it allows for artists, regardless of their popularity, to participate and create their own similar event. Not only does it create a better space for artists; it also helps the communities that it becomes a part of.
Norah Walsh contributed to reporting for this article.