Festival adds gay artsy appeal to Piedmont Park

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Not that an arts festival in Piedmont Park needs any more gay appeal, but the Piedmont Park Arts Festival pours a scooch more gay into the park this weekend with vendors, entertainers and a large helping of LGBT artists offering their wares.

The event, which runs Saturday and Sunday, is the work of partners of Patrick Dennis and Randall Fox. The pair founded the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, which hosts a series of arts and cultural events throughout the year across Atlanta. We caught up with Fox to chat about this weekend’s event, its LGBT appeal and why it should earn a place on your Gay Agenda for the weekend.

So the Piedmont Park Arts Festival is back for a second year. (View photos from the 2011 event.) What did you learn with last year’s inaugural event and how will that make this one even better?

We learned that the Midtown community really wanted an event that not only reflected the true flavor and spirit of Midtown, they wanted an event that was part of their community, they wanted a say in how the arts festival looked and felt, and wanted it to be reflective of the Midtown neighborhood.

Many people that have lived in Midtown for years remember the “old Piedmont park arts festival.” Well, it’s back bitches — thanks Cher — and they love it.

If there’s one spot or piece of the festival that is a must-see, tell us what it is and why it can’t be missed.

We have the largest selection of local and regional artists of any arts festival held in Piedmont Park. Or, as we like to say, local, local, local and neighbor, neighbor, neighbor. You will find more local artists here than any other arts festival held in Piedmont park all year.

What sort of artists are featured at the event? Are there LGBT artists among them?

This has to be one of my favorite discussions because as a member of the Atlanta LGBT community, my partner and I embrace and personally invite the largest number of LGBT artists to participate in this event. We like to say it’s like a “mini-pride” event that’s focused on the artistic talents and skills of our friends and colleagues and neighbors.

Two of my favorites are photographers Rob Simmons and his awesome cityscapes and mixed media painter MJ Villaneuva, who incorporates glass and textures into his pieces.

Make your best pitch about why the gays should make this festival part of their weekend agenda?

There is no better way to support the local LGBT arts and artist community. Come buy art from your local artists. They are your friends, neighbors and colleagues and help them build one of the LBGT arts festival in the south. Don’t forget that we’ve got food trucks and live music. And bring the dog! We even have corn dogs.

The Piedmont Park Arts Festival is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Photo by Sher Pruitt

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