As twilight bid adieu to daytime guests of the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown Saturday, a more wicked throng was looming around Hermann Square Park at City Hall looking for a steal — and no cop could stop the party mob from reaching its bounty.
More than 400 Houstonians channeled their inner Madonna, Marilyn Manson, LMFAO, members of KISS, Robin Williams, The Dude, Prince and Bret Michaels for "Art Heist Rocks!," the juried fair's fundraiser that mingled "theft, art and rock and roll." About the crime: The opportunity to walk away with one of 70 art pieces donated by some of the 300 artists represented at the two-day weekend festival.
Following al fresco Riazul tequila sunrise cocktails, Stella Artois beer and green screen photo booth celebrity fun — think Rolling Stone Magazine front covers, boas and oversized fashion specs — the hungry crowd attacked a spread chock-full of sliders by The Counter, kebabs by Mélange Catering & Special Events and an array of mini treats by Nothing Bundt Cakes set against a tented stage of vinyl records, electric guitars and funky lights.
In between heists, out of nowhere came a posse of dancers to entertain patrons about their tables, accompanied by rowdy music courtesy of the Flipside Band.
Before the mad dash for art began, chairs Marcus Carter and Michael Coppens and co-chairs Jessica Thomas and Stacy Robinson honored KTRK Ch. 13 news anchor Melanie Lawson, Houston Museum of African American Culture CEO John F. Guess Jr. and Gus and Sharon Kopriva for championing local arts, the festival and philanthropic activities in the city, though Sharon couldn't be present as she was attending a reception of her own retrospective exhibition, From Terra to Verde: The Work of Sharon Kopriva, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.
Top tier ticket holders were offered first dibs at the art. After their names were drawn by chance, each had 30 seconds to claim their piece and move aside. Chris West, a former volunteer with the festival, chose a photograph printed on textured canvass by Santa Barbara-based fine artist Andrew Mosedale. Host committee member Gerardo Guerrero raced straight for Tanya Doskova's Mother, a digital painting of a parent and child. And Dr. Roland Maldonado and his partner Joel Bickley opted for a vibrant cityscape by Daryl Thetford.
In between heists, out of nowhere came a posse of dancers to entertain patrons about their tables, accompanied by rowdy music courtesy of the Flipside Band. All and all, the after-dark rave cashed in almost $20,000 for the nonprofit.
Painting the town alongside executive director Kelly Kindred were Heather Pray, PritPaul Sidhu, Joe McKinney, Edward Sanchez and sister Enid Sanchez, Houston Arts Alliance's Nyala Wright, Paul Pettie, Clint Langford, board of directors president Michael Piana, Jeff Hoffman, Dr. Owen McCormack, Karl Lin and Nicola Parente and partner Aaron Courtland.