The annual Athena Project Arts Festival – dedicated to showcasing the work of female artists in all disciplines, from playwriting to fashion design – is a sprawling monthlong affair spread out over an impressive number of venues. And that's all good, but it makes the festival a communications challenge: How do you get the word out to the public and, more important, encourage networking and collaborations between artists when there's so much going on? After talking to people who participated in last year's series, fest director Angela Astle had the idea of throwing an Artist Night Out event as a prelude to the main event in March.
“Because Athena is not a traditional festival and is spread out over a period of time, it's challenging to find ways to connect people,” Astle says. “I've found that each discipline is separate – there's little or no crossover between them, so this is a way to help mitigate that, basically.” The Artist Night Out evening is designed to serve as a show-and-tell, encouraging women in the arts to spend a couple of informal minutes getting up to explain what they do as artists – to each other, as well as to the arts-loving public. And not only is it a way for artists to connect, but it's also designed to alleviate the stage fright some get when they have to discuss their work. “By the time the festival rolls around,” Astle explains, “you'll have a community of people you’re comfortable with and already know.”
A big reception caps off the evening, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. tonight at the Art Students League of Denver, 200 Grant Street; admission is free. Learn more about Artist Night Out and other Athena Project programming at athenaprojectfestival.org.
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