For more information, go to hatchchatt.org.
At least 19 organizations have worked together to give birth to a 10-day arts and cultural festival that will encompass some existing events and create new ones.
Called HATCH 2012 -- History Art Technology Culture Happenings -- the festival will be held April 13-22 over a 10-mile area from St. Elmo to the North Shore, according to Dan Stetson, executive director of the Hunter Museum of American Art. The event will incorporate local galleries, studios, visual artists, musicians and performance artists.
The festival will be similar in scope to RiverRocks, which showcases the area's outdoor and adventure activities, but will focus on the arts. Some events will be ticketed, but many will have no admission fee, Stetson said.
The Four Bridges Arts Festival will kick off the festival, which Stetson said is funded in part by the Benwood and Lyndhurst foundations. Among the activities will be a Chattanooga Symphony & Opera performance, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre's Biennial Festival of New Plays and the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance Conference, which will kick off an 18-month sculpture exhibition at the Riverpark.
"There will be many announcements of new events in the coming weeks," Stetson said.
MakeWorks director Kate Creason, said her organization, which supports local artists, will develop an event called 10X10 as part of the festival to showcase creative people living and working in a 10-block area bordered by the Riverfront, 10th Avenue, Chestnut and Houston streets.
The goal is to find a representative art piece for each block to be on display from Monday through Friday during the festival, she said. Her group is also actively looking for artists in the area to showcase their works in about 90 pieces, she said.
"We hope to have everything from lighted pieces to fashion showcases," Creason said.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said the arts are a large part of what makes the city appealing and are among the reasons the New York Times listed it as one of only four U.S. cities to visit in a recent article. It was the only U.S. city not in California mentioned in the list.
"I make no apologies for the money we have put into the arts, though we are often criticized," the mayor told members of the media and arts representatives in attendance. "The arts bring people to our city and it encourages people to invest their families and their lives here."
Rodney Van Valkenburg, director of communications/arts education with Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, said the organization supports HATCH 2012 and will be active in marketing and promoting the festival.
"Our role is to remind people why the arts are important," he said.
Others participating in the festival are the Association for Visual Arts, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Chattanooga History Center, Rock City Gardens, La Paz and Public Art Chattanooga, among others.