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Magic City Art Connection celebrating 41 years of showcasing artists, art appreciation, food exhibitions

Andi Rice Mediaworks
Magic City Art Connection Facebook

What’s billed as one of the most highly anticipated art festivals in Alabama is being celebrated for its 41st year. The Magic City Art Connection brings artists from around the country to Sloss Furnaces in downtown Birmingham. Outdoor booths line the National Historic Landmark with live performances, food exhibitions and 150 displaying artists.

Nik Layman Photo/Video

The three-day event begins April 26 and goes through April 28. Art mediums ranging from photography to woodwork will be available for purchase. Alex Kunzman is the Co-Director and Marketing Director of Magic City Art Connection. He said his mother founded the festival in 1983 to create a community of art enjoyment, collection and appreciation.

“It's been a cultural Mecca for arts, entertainment and education for the last 40 years,” he said. “It's a place of connection for the community. You get to experience all of this wonderful inspiration and entertainment with others.”

The festival also includes over 30 workshops with things like printmaking, Matisse mushrooms art and an outer inner self-portrait. The activities are all led by artists and many inspired by ones from Alabama.

The adult workshops are a part of the Collectors Classroom experience. For the little ones, Kunzman said they have a hands-on educational program for students called the Imagination Festival.

“Teaching artists work with kids, both Saturday and Sunday, which is open to the public. But on Friday, we bring in around 800 elementary, third and fourth graders to go through a series of our workshops at the festival.” He continued, “It's a way that we love to give back to the community and to give kids an art experience that they don't normally get.”

On Friday, the event serves as a field trip for local students in the city. Saturday and Sunday are open to the public and kids can work with artists to make their own crafts and bring them home. Kids under 18 get in free to the event.

Magic City Art Connection Facebook

Other art experiences include live music featuring Birmingham jazz musician Eric Essix and different dance styles like tribal and Indian. Another big part of the Art Connection is the food and drink experience called Corks and Chefs. Kunzman said the event highlights cuisine and drinks from local restaurants and chefs, breweries and cocktail bars.

“We feature about six culinary restaurant chefs each day, and you get to sample each of their dishes,” he explained. “We also feature a big wine table. We have local cocktail bars come out to present a feature cocktail, and we have craft beer. We’re also doing a special seated tasting seminars that patrons have access to that are about 30 minutes long each.”

Tasting seminars include a sourdough and chocolate tasting seminar hosted local chefs. There will also be food trucks and charcuterie boards at the event. Visit The Magic City Art Connection website for details on each exhibition and ticket sales.

Grayce Kilkenny is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio Newsroom. She is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Digital, Professional and Public Writing. Outside of the newsroom, Grayce enjoys photography, running and fashion.
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