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Tower mural greeted with dance performance
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Performance artists gloATL dance Saturday night at the Lake Lanier Olympic Center at Clarks Bridge Park during “The Big Reveal,” the ceremonial unveiling of the center’s new tower mural painting this past week by Argentine muralist and street artist Franco Fasoli, known as JAZ. - photo by NAT GURLEY

A live performance-art piece ushered in the grand unveiling of the artistic face of the Lake Lanier Olympic Center.

Argentine artist Franco Fasoli, known as “Jaz,” created the image of a muscled rower and paddler, giving a prominent new look to the venue’s timing tower that faces Clarks Bridge Park at the northern end of Lake Lanier.

Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau, gave a word of warning to shy folks Saturday night as the dance performance was under way.

“Be careful — if you get too close, they’ll grab you and make you dance,” she said to laughs.

Sure enough, the six dancers periodically grabbed audience members to hop, skip and waltz with them through the lengthy choreography.

Gainesville City Councilwomen Myrtle Figueras and Ruth Bruner both were in attendance to support the Gainesville arts.

“It’s a beautiful venue out here to see the dancers against the sky and the lake,” Bruner said.

The venue was fitted with interesting aesthetics as well to add to the natural beauty.

Ambient purple lighting flooded the concrete “stage” along the lake, and rows of milk jugs brimming with a neon glow lined the venue.

The dancers swayed to an eclectic mix of music from simple drum rhythms to the sound of rain and thunder to classical music etudes. And in the style of modern dance, the movements were a mix of fluid ballet styles and broken angles, punctuated by coordinated moves among the six performers.

“I’m super-duper thrilled,” Figueras said. “It is freezing, but other than that it’s wonderful.”

The October shift to nippy temperatures was evident as attendees shared blankets and sipped on hot chocolate to stay warm.

After about an hour, more people started trickling under the tent to get their blood pumping and indulge in plates of barbecue.

The combined efforts of the Arts Council, North Georgia Community Foundation, Quinlan Art Center and Georgia Council for the Arts made the show possible, organizers said.

Dickson said the performance and mural are linked to the Vision 2030 goal of bringing more public art to Gainesville.

“This is the first step, and we hope for many more,” she said.

The event may have be Gainesville’s first foray into art, but the dancers have been across the state since late September as part of The Traveling Show. The show’s goal has been to engage local communities with dance and paintings.

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