The seventh annual Digital Graffiti festival expands to June 5, 6 & 7 By Zandra Wolfgram
On the first weekend in June, as the summer sun dips into the Gulf and the sky fades to black, the white-washed walls of Alys Beach will be transformed and thousands of eager art lovers will be transfixed. It’s time for Digital Graffiti — the world’s first outdoor projection art festival.
For the past six years, Digital Graffiti has given talented artists from around the world a rare opportunity to use Alys Beach’s iconic white walls as a “blank slate” to explore the intersections of art, technology and architecture.
Curator/artist Brett Phares comes in from New York to design the show and sees different trends emerge each year. “It’s interesting. This year we have artists from the south, northeast, west coast and the northwest,” he says. “Each has a different way of seeing what is around them. The west was all about color, design and shape experiences, whereas the east was about more personal, soulful experiences and telling a story.”
All of the Digital Graffiti artists selected from hundreds who apply to the show are impressive, but only six will earn the special distinction of being a Digital Graffiti award-winning artist for 2014 earning each artist a portion of the $10,000 cash prize pot.
This year, the festival has expanded to a three-day event by adding an exclusive behind-the-scenes preview tour narrated by Phares on Thursday at 8 p.m.
“We will have a handful of artworks that we took a deeper look at,” says Phares. “People are interested in the behind-the-scenes. They wonder about the choices the artists make, why we end up situating it where we do, so we hope to talk to them about it as we walk around. I will talk about the historical qualities of the work, things that might not be apparent and hope to get people talking. We hope the experience amplifies the conversation that we can continue through the festival and beyond.”
As in years past, the projected art exhibit is shown two nights. Friday evening includes animated activities and a meet-and-greet gallery stroll featuring some of the two dozen digital artist finalists, who will be on hand to answer questions and discuss their work on display. And the excitement continues on Saturday beginning with a red carpet welcome party at 6:30 p.m. and ending with the must-not-miss poolside party of the season at Caliza Pool, featuring music and video mixing by DJs and VJs, light bites and cash bars.
Over the years, this innovative event has put not only Alys Beach in the national spotlight, but also has helped Florida take the lead in the digital art movement. With a growing Visiting Artist series and expanded event programs that engage participants in even more and new ways, Digital Graffiti continues to follow Seaside’s lead and play an important role in bringing the cultural arts alive in South Walton county.
Proceeds benefit The Alys Foundation, which supports select local charities.
Weekend passes are available for $200 per person and include admission to the event on all three days, an official Digital Graffiti T-shirt and Tervis tumbler. Tickets for Friday night are $50 per person for adults and $15 for children (12 and under). Tickets for Saturday are $75 (for adults and children). Patron tickets are $100 and include a T-shirt, tumbler and access to Saturday night’s event. Tickets are available for purchase online at digitalgraffiti.com and in person in Alys Beach at Fonville Press.
If you have yet to experience the event or if it’s been a while since you’ve attended, Digital Graffiti 2014 is worth a return visit. For all the latest information on Digital Graffiti 2014, visit digitalgraffiti.com.