To the contemporary-art collective Bedlam Lorenz Assembly, an abandoned lot in Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village should serve a dual purpose on Saturday: as a playground for children and as a battlefield for war.
The 13,000-square-foot space will also become the site of many paint-filled water balloons, to be hurled and catapulted by the public smack against a 100-foot-long mural during the sprawling Art Fallout event.
"We're going to war with the wall," BLA co-founder Zack Spechler says of the "We Own Your Imagination" interactive mural and obstacle course on the northeast corner of Andrews Avenue and Northwest Fifth Street. Assembled over an exhaustive week with the seven-member art collective in residence at Davie's Young at Art Museum, the project, when finished, should be coated wall-to-grass in organic white paint.
The mash-up of murals and audience participation is no doubt an eye-catching attraction for visitors to Art Fallout, the supersize art walk returning Saturday with free guided tours, exhibit openings and food trucks. Creating a spectacle — by way of exploding paint balloons — was definitely the plan when Spechler and his arty professionals brainstormed an attention-grabbing work across the street from Maguire's Hill 16.
As much an antiwar satire as a blank, all-white canvas for Art Fallout visitors to deface, "We Own Your Imagination" is furnished with stacks of used tires, repurposed end tables, scaffolding and an arsenal of paint-filled pneumatic air guns, all developed into foxholes, bunkers and other elements of warfare.
"The public will become the artist. We're just making the playful military training ground," says a paint-stained Ben Morey, 25, a design consultant for Young at Art whose face on a recent Sunday afternoon painting session was redder than fresh-picked rhubarb. "But it's not a total goof-off. It's about heavy issues, but it's also about the frivolous side of war."
The group, founded in 2011, presents the "Annual Interest" shows at Young at Art and scouts to promote new and veteran local artists. Also on hand this day was museum director Mindy Shrago, Spechler's mom, who was busy hand-painting tires.
"I look at this like a collective vision for a more-peaceful world demonstrated through art," Shrago says.
Elsewhere in FAT Village, the photo project of local creative types known as Inside Out — Fort Lauderdale will be unveiled on a 12 1/2-foot-by-45-foot wall along an alleyway off Northwest Fifth Street, behind the Image 360 building. The black-and-white mosaic of large-format prints, dreamed up by Oakland Park's Kristina DaSilva, features the grinning heads of local musicians, painters, photographers, jewelrymakers and filmmakers. Photo shoots took place in early September.
In addition, the Projects — North warehouse space (523 NW First Ave.) will feature another reception for the Lisa Rockford-curated "Rough and Tumble," a showcase of works that respond to themes of "violent, random, disorderly action and struggles." Around the corner, Cadence (435 N. Andrews Ave., No. 2) will turn its savvy architecture design firm into a pop-up gallery space for "Adaptation," featuring sculptures by Susan Michele and drawings by Judith Berk King.
Third Avenue Art District
A handful of private galleries will open their doors along this north-south drag located three blocks east of FAT Village, including the Janet Gold/Tobey Archer studio, Glavovic Studio, Madeline Denaro Studio, Rosanna Saccoccio Studio and the Girls' Club Collection.
At Girls' Club, creative director Michelle Weinberg founded Art Fallout in 2010 to draw attention to downtown Fort Lauderdale as a massive hub of creativity. Their one-night-only "Art Fallout: Thinking on Paper" group exhibit is an open-call show featuring 45 artists with paper-based works. Throughout the night, guest judges, artists and members of the public can write feedback on multicolored Post-It notes and affix them near the on-display work, gallery director Sarah Michelle Rupert says.
"Artists are bringing what they're proud of, and some of it is in-progress, some of it gestural, and some of it is totally completed work," Rupert says. "The whole district is participating, opening up their personal workspaces. It's a real treat to be able to poke your head in and see how awesome the arts community is."
"Fiber Optics," another Rockford-curated group exhibit at the Sailboat Bend artists' lofts (1310 SW Second Court), combines the warm nostalgia of knitting and embroidery with all the quilted comforts of a freaky nightmare. The 42 emerging artists on display use traditional crafts for unusual purposes, Rockford says.
Melissa Bush, for example, crochets "Home Sweet Home"-style doilies with disturbing scripts that include lines such as, "My father committed suicide when I was five." Kelly Boehmer, meanwhile, stitches together stuffed animal parts for her piece "Mother and Child," which depicts monstrous black creatures with taxidermied reptile teeth.
"We flip the whole intent of what these craft processes are normally used for," Rockford says. "They're usually for warm or nurturing purposes. I liked the tension of making repulsive things from objects of beauty and comfort."
Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale
The museum (1 E. Las Olas Blvd.) is offering free admission from 5 to 9 p.m., as well as 5, 6 and 7 p.m. highlight tours of "Women's World: Contemporary Views of Women by Women," "Bunny Yeager: Both Sides of the Camera" and highlights from the Glackens and Cobra collections.
Free NSU Shark shuttles, provided courtesy of the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, will whisk art-lovers along 10 gallery and museum stops in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Transportation will run from 5 p.m. to 9:55 p.m. Stops include Janet Gold/Tobey Archer Studios, Glavovic Studio, Madeline Denaro Studio, Rosanna Saccoccio Studio, Cadence Pop Up Studio, Bedlam Lorenz Assembly, FAT Village, Girls' Club Collection, Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and 1310 Gallery. Shuttles operate at 20-minute intervals.
When: 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5
Where: Various locations in downtown Fort Lauderdale
Cost: Free admission for all participating galleries and museums