published Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Sparking interest in the arts — festival gets new name

Kayakers make their final formation on the Tennessee River during the 2012 HATCH Festival. The 11-day downtown event is being renamed for this year.
Kayakers make their final formation on the Tennessee River during the 2012 HATCH Festival. The 11-day downtown event is being renamed for this year.
Photo by Staff File Photo.
  • photo
    Sarah Ervin, left, and Jennifer Holder look at vintage and handmade items for sale at the 2012 HATCH Festival in downtown Chattanooga. The new name for the event this year is spark: a right brain celebration.
    Photo by Staff File Photo.
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The name has changed, but the idea behind a multiday celebration of the arts is essentially the same, according to organizers of "spark, a right brain celebration."

Scheduled for April 11-21, spark is the new name for the HATCH Festival that debuted last year. The event had to change its name after receiving a formal request from attorneys representing a similarly named event in Bozeman, Mont.

Carla Pritchard of Chattanooga Presents, which is helping produce the event this year, said the idea is to showcase "the multidisciplinary arts that we have in this community and also to encourage presenters to break out of the mold and try something different."

This year's event will celebrate literature, technology, history, visual arts, performing arts, music, culinary arts and more through dozens of events and exhibits over 11 days.

Chattanooga Presents has put out a call for participants and hopes to program the event over the next several weeks. Pritchard said she hopes artists, gallery owners, restaurateurs and store and venue owners will collaborate on new and unusual ideas.

She said spark will feature one-time happenings such as musical performances and events that will run the length of the celebration.

"It will be a mixture of both," she said. "We want to use traditional spaces but also move out to the street corners, for example. Maybe a restaurant that might not typically have music will have live music."

She said the events can take place anywhere in the city.

"Public art has moved out into neighborhoods, so we see this working the same way."

Spark will include two anchor events in the 4 Bridges Arts Festival, presented by the Association for Visual Arts on April 13-14, and the Celebration of Southern Literature, presented April 18-20 by the Arts & Education Council. A grand finale at Ross's Landing will be April 20.

AVA Executive Director Anne Willson said bringing the community together to focus on the arts is what Chattanooga is all about.

"The very fabric and lifeblood of Chattanooga is deeply informed by the arts and it has been that way for years, so the notion of so many of us coming together over a 11-day time span is a great opportunity," Willson said.

Event Chairwoman Verina Baxter said she hopes visitors will stay a few days and sample something new.

"That is exactly the idea," she said. "Maybe you are a visual arts person who comes for 4 Bridges; we hope you will stay a few days and maybe go to the symphony. You could stay for the entire 11 days and find something interesting."

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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