City's first art-car parade coming

Chattanooga will be hosting its first art-car parade next year thanks to Art 120, an organization developed by Signal Mountain resident Kate Warren dedicated to connecting the arts with the community within a 120-mile radius of the city.

photo "Arte Politico" and "Luche Mobile" are examples of art bikes and cars from the 2011 Houston Art Car Parade.

"I wanted to organize a free event that would showcase our exciting artistic culture," said Warren, a Houston native who is modeling the Chattanooga parade after a similar event held in her former hometown. "Like Chattanooga, [an art-car parade] is very unique and has such community involvement, which is what the [Art 120] program is all about."

A grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation is enabling Art 120 to bring in experienced art-car artists Natali Leduc and Smitty Regula to host two art-bike workshops near Main Street July 18-22 and 25-29 for up to 20 urban youth ages 14-18. Applications are due by June 30.

Adults are still needed to serve as team leaders for the youth, who will work in teams of four to create their own art bikes over the course of the week. Warren said projects typically take from 10 to 60 hours to complete and work well as after-school or summer programs. Adults will leave the workshop with the capability to share the art form with others, and teachers interested in incorporating an art-bike or art-car project into their classroom curriculum are especially encouraged to attend.

The parade is set for April 2012, and Warren is currently looking to raise awareness about the event among area kindergarten through college students and teachers who might be interested in participating.

"It's a good educational outlet for students," said Warren.

The project can be used as a platform to talk about the environment, greener resources, or to showcase or celebrate their school, she said.

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