Our Legacy, A Festival

Bringing art to our community for 70 years.
Art Alliance Austin’s history reflects the evolution of art in Austin. The legacy of showcasing Austin’s quality artists has always lived at the heart of the organization.

History of Fiesta

Fiesta during the 1980s

Fiesta during the 1980s

Art City Austin is the city’s second oldest outdoor fair, only the Kite Festival is older. Art City began as Art Mart in 1950 at the City Coliseum. In 1956 it moved to Laguna Gloria, eventually rebranding itself Fiesta, and supported that institution (and later the Austin Museum of Art) for the next 50 years. In 2000, the festival moved downtown at the request of then Mayor Kirk Watson to help revitalize downtown.

The festival has always truly been one of a kind. In its heyday the city of Austin closed down for the festival. Most businesses closed so that employees could attend and/or volunteer at the festival which relied on help from over 8,000 volunteers. The festival long remained a fundraising success – raising upwards of a quarter million dollars annually through the 1980s and early 1990s. These proceeds were integral in sustaining Laguna Gloria’s exhibitions, programs, grounds, and art classes as well as serving the broader function of integrating art and the museum into the community.

Here’s a sample of the event program from 1971:

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1971
GROUNDS – open from noon until midnight
MUSEUM – open from noon until 6 p.m. both days
ART AUCTION – under the green and white striped tent 4 to 8 p.m.
TEEN DANCE – lagoon patio, 2 to 4 p.m. Music by The You, Nick Barden, leader
ADULT DANCE – lagoon patio, 9 p.m. to midnight, Nash Hernandez Orchestra
MEXICAN DINNER – north of the Museum, near beer garden, 5 to 11 p.m.

 

SUNDAY, MAY 16, 1971
GROUNDS – open from noon until 9 p.m.
ART AUCTION – under the green and white striped tent 1 to 5 p.m. Master Charge and Bank Americard accepted
ENTERTAINMENT – Los Flamencos Dances of San Antonio, 1, 2, and 3 p.m.; Los Latinos, strolling mariachis, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; The Kings IV Combo, in auction tent, 30 minutes preceeding opening of auction; art demonstrations every 30 minutes by the artist at their booths

fiesta 1976

 

fiesta 1990

Past Fiesta / Art City Austin Chairs:

1957 – Mrs. Michael Frary
1958 – Mrs. Anne H. Webb
1959 – Mrs. E. P. Conkle
1960 – Mrs. Michael Frary
1961 – Maude Folmar Ramsey
1962 – Mrs. V. Steigelman
1963 – Mrs. M. Aubry
1964 – Mrs. D. J. Sibley
1965 – Mrs. Beverly Hayden
1966 – Jean W. MacDonald
1967 – Mrs. Beverly Hayden
1968 – Mrs. Desmond Kidd
1969 – Mrs. Mack Stoeltje
1970 – Mrs. McDonald Smith
1971 – Mrs. Ed Padgett
1972 – Mrs. Joe Ballanfonte
1973 – Mrs. Larry Craddock, Jr.
1974 – Mrs. John M. Davis
1975 – Mrs. LeRoy Nagel
1976 – Mrs. Richard Dorrell
1977 – Mrs. Don L. Davis
1978 – Mrs. Tom Ezell
1979 – Mrs. Don Cooper
1980 – Mrs. Jerry Hering 1981 – Mrs. Scott Chapman
1982 – Mrs. Bruce Knierim
1983 – Mrs. Larry Hall
1984 – Mrs. Marc Bone
1985 – Mrs. Berry Gannaway
1986 – Mrs. David Hart
1987 – Mrs. Bob Richardson
1988 – Mrs. Ronney Reynolds
1989 – Rose Betty Williams
1990 – Jean D. Glass
1991 – Michelle Just-Linder
1992 – Virginia Edgecomb
1993 – Deborah Davis Groves
1994 – Kay L. Taylor
1995 – Lisa Carmichael
1996 – Kathleen Coates
1997 – Lynn Gambrill
1998 – Paula Coopwood
1999 – Wandea Reetz
2000 – Carolyn Rathburn
2000 – Louann Criswell
2001 – Louann Criswell
2001 – Paula Coopwood
2002 – Brenda Johnson
2002 – Susan Hausmann

2003 – Michelle Just-Linder
2003 – Brenda Johnson
2003 – Susan Hausmann
2003 – Paula Coopwood
2003 – Nancy Burns
2003 – Louann Criswell
2004 – Kim Eckert
2004 – Paula Coopwood
2005 – Michelle Bastas
2005 – Kim Eckert
2006 – Colleen Ogno
2006 – Michelle Bastas
2007 – Lynn Osler
2007 – Colleen Ogno
2008 – Michelle Just-Linder
2008 – Lynn Osler
2009 – Michelle Just-Linder
2009 – Emily Shaw
2010 – Penny Snider
2010 – Damon Arhos
2011 – Penny Snider
2011 – Damon Arhos
2012 – Penny Snider
2012 – Alicia Hartzell
2013 – Alicia Hartzell

 

fiesta 1972 (2)

fiesta 1972 (1)

Saturday afternoon at Fiesta found the teen crowd dancing on the lagoon terrace to the music of Stagecoach with Dave Hernandez, or just listening under the huge oak trees hung with colorful piñatas!

fiesta 1972 (3)

For information on the most recent/upcoming Art City Austin visit the event page