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Liesa-Cole_Guest-PortraitsMagic City Art Connection’s (MCAC) “Once Upon A Forest” Art Bash beckoned partygoers deep into the forest on February 21st!

Art Bash-ers began their journey into MCAC’s urban forest by creating a variety of fairytale, animal, and period costume looks for the fundraiser’s enchanted, wooded theme. When they arrived to this year’s “another cool Birmingham space” at 3116 4th Avenue South, they approached a single spotlighted door off of the building’s adjacent parking lot. Once inside, Art Salon lottery tickets, bid numbers and guest portrait vouchers were awarded as a 14 foot paper tree with its ornately branching canopy peeked around the corner of the entry wall to welcome the Art Bash cast into the woods. Despite its colossal frame, it was only a partial glimpse of the forest just around the corner.

Paper-Forest_Projection_2Then came the drama! After rounding the entry wall and stepping into the party, guests were immediately immersed in Art Bash’s first forest interpretation – a Paper Forest by Jon Woolley. Jon and his company, Little Forest, were the perfect addition to the “Once Upon A Forest” team this year. His dense forest made of 25 towering, wintery trees made of paper were brought to life by the illuminating projections of Katie & John Gaiser, A Married Couple. The floor to ceiling trees acted as the perfect canvas for this duo’s contemporary and nature-inspired digital art, which was set against the soundtrack of forest field recordings layered with moody, electronic tunes by DJ LBTV™ (aka Drew Price). If all of the Art Bash characters made it safely through the paper forest unharmed, a signature cocktail by Jess Parsons of Carrigan’s Public House greeted them at Art Bash’s 2nd forest installation.

Liesa-Cole_Guest-Portraits-Action_2Award-winning photographer Liesa Cole and her Omni Studio partner, Tony Rodio, were back in all of their glory to capture the mystery of the deep forest for their 8th guest portrait collaboration with Art Bash. The 2015 Omni Studio set build out was our biggest undertaking yet. It anchored the middle space and was mirrored by a 40 foot wide, grey blue dimensional paper wall featuring kinetic shadows projected from suspended organic material not being integrated into the photography environment. This year’s portrait set was also designed by Jon Woolley using foraged branches and curated clippings from a nearby farm. Architect and designer, Christophe Nicolet, brought Jon’s eerie and haunting set to life with lighting magic and theatre know how for his 4th year of design work with Art Bash. If there was a design delimma, Christophe could solve it.

Art-Salon_5When guests needed a break watching all of the fun and action on the portrait set, the Art Salon beckoned them deeper into the forest for a great art find. Perusing the diverse, art-lined walls and punctuated by culinary bites being passed by volunteers, the jockeying over artworks by lottery ticketholders and bidders kept the energy high til the last bidding second. If there was more excitement to burn after the Art Salon closed, partiers grabbed a last drink, last bite, and danced their way into the paper forest one more time before exiting Art Bash’s forest. Don’t worry, no trails were needed for guests to find their way back home to the bright lights of the city. A magical and mysterious evening was had by all who ventured into MCAC’s enchanted forest! We’ll see you next year.

The end.

Proceeds from Art Bash support art educational programming free for 1500 Birmingham city schools’ 4th graders attending MCAC’s Imagination Festival Friday program of interactive workshops and art experiences, plus hundreds more children over the 3 day contemporary art festival happening April 25-27 in Linn Park. 


Special thank you to the following partners who donated to Art Bash this year. We appreciate your support and friendship.

Another cool Birmingham Space
Barber Companies

Anthony Arkus, Lisa Arkus, Big Fat Monster, Melanie Blackerby, Craig Brabston, Wellon Bridgers, Dan Bynum, Daniel Cater, Candiss Cole, Melanie Colvin, Beth Conklin, Alyssa Crisswell, Chris Davis, Joe Dumas, Cloud Farrow, Joanne Fogle, Sara Glassman, Nelson Grice, Garden Griffin, Debo Groover, Nick Gruenburg, Pam Hamby & Jeff Wells, JD Hayward, Dennis Heckler, H. Jacobs , Leah Karol, Emma Knapp, James Knowles, Melanie Leonard, Karen Libecap, Katherine Linn, Logan Louis, Linda McCarrey, Janet, McGregor Dunn, Tracy McKay, Chad  Moore, Jayne Morgan , Jim Norton, Barbara Odil, Butch Oglesby, Mariella Owen, Raymond Papka, Inga Patterson, Charles  Pinckney, Ashlyn Postell, Marjorie Rawson, Patrick Reynolds, Chiharu Roach, Jenni Robinson, Linda Sasse, Jonah Schaffer , Julie Schwarz, Willow Scott, Jeff Seemayer, Elizabeth Seidel, Susan Shoemaker, Steve Smith, Walt Sticklin, A.L. Swartz, Leo Tichelli, Christy Turnipseed, Marrianne Van Der Har, Sherri Van Pelt, Ann Wallin, Steve Ward, Jim Weaver, Paul Wilm, Daisy Winfrey, Ashley Wingo, Marc and Wendy Zosche

Restaurants & Caterers|
B & A Warehouse, Cantina, Catering by LaNetta, Nabeel’s Café & Market, The J.Clyde, Yarbrough Food Services, and Rojo

Carrigan’s Public House, Cahaba Brewing Company, and International Wines and Craft Beers

Photos by
Charity Ponter
Nik Layman
Alex Kunzman

41st Annual MCAC

April 26-28, 2024