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All 'Decked' out with art

Sean Mulkey, whose style is expressive realism, is one of the artists whose works are usually on display at the monthly Deck of Arts event on the downtown Albany parking deck at Jackson Street and Broad Avenue. This month's music and art event is at 8 p.m. Friday (June 29, 2012).

Sean Mulkey, whose style is expressive realism, is one of the artists whose works are usually on display at the monthly Deck of Arts event on the downtown Albany parking deck at Jackson Street and Broad Avenue. This month's music and art event is at 8 p.m. Friday (June 29, 2012).

— In just a few days, locals will transform a typically innocuous and boring parking deck downtown into the creative hub of Southwest Georgia.

This month's exposition of art, music and culture known as the Deck of Arts, will feature a lineup of more than 20 people and groups ready to show off their talent and skills to the masses.

"It's really becoming something quite incredible," Downtown Manager Aaron Blair said. "Everytime we do one of these, we have more people out and the artists get more creative. It's a pretty unique experience for Southwest Georgians."

Situated on the top deck of the parking structure next to the government center off Jackson Street, Deck of Arts is more than just a temporary art show, Blair says; it's art in motion.

"If you come, you don't see just people exhibiting their art. You'll painters painting; jewelry makers bending and twisting glass into beads that you can then buy; you'll see sculptors turning clay on a wheel into a pot; it's truly an exposition," Blair said.

Beginning at 8 p.m., four bands are slated to perform starting with Amp Up the Music; followed by Robert Lawson; the Hampton's will follow with UBL: Unbreakable Blood Line rounding out the musical acts for the night.

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The Good Doctor is one of the bands that have performed at the downtown Albany Deck of Arts event. The next event of arts and music will be at 8 p.m. June 29, 2012.

Between performances, Flavor Emotion Band Boys — described by Blair as a "roller skating, break dancing performance crew" — will do their unique take on performance art.

"Our whole point behind this show was to get the artists out there so people could see them, meet them and watch them develop their art," Blair said.

Deck of Arts is just one way Blair and the downtown stakeholders are trying to rekindle public desire to come downtown after hours.

The Downtown Merchants Association has sponsored and organized the First Fridays events, which is a collaborative effort by businesses downtown and local musicians and artists to perform after hours to boost foot traffic downtown.

The city of Albany's Recreation and Parks Department and the Downtown Manager's Office have teamed up to host the movies in the park series. The next one will be a showing of "The Muppets" on July 31.

The Merchants Association is also holding periodic Urban Garage Sales downtown, which allows members of the community to sign up and sale their goods downtown on periodic Saturdays throughout the year.

And each Saturday through December the city is hosting the Downtown Farm Market, which allows the public to purchase locally grown vegetables and fruit on the parking deck downtown.

"For us it's about exposure and education and trying to make Albany the creative center for Southwest Georgia," Blair said.

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