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When most people think of art in public spaces, they immediately imagine sculptures or murals. This fall, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston will present a host of multi-dimensional events that will change traditional perceptions of public art.

Film, music, performance and visual art will be presented in several unique sites around Houston.

Among the highlights of the fall 2007 season is “Nights on Blue Bayou: City Soundscapes,” a bold new series that will include electronic, classical and popular music, as well as video, light and film art. Presented by the Mitchell Center in collaboration with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, City Soundscapes takes place at the Sabine-to-Bagby-Promenade off Memorial Drive just outside of downtown. Parking is available at Lot H off Memorial Drive.

Another featured event is the outdoor screening of Michael Gitlin’s documentary “The Birdpeople” in UH’s Fine Arts Courtyard.

All of the Mitchell Center’s fall events are free and open to the public.

“This fall, the center will feature music, film and visual art where we least expect them – in our public spaces,” said Karen Farber, director of the Mitchell Center. “We are thrilled to be working with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Aurora Picture Show and other partners to bring these events to our campus and the city of Houston.”

The center’s fall schedule is as follows:

  • Screening: “The Birdpeople”
    8 p.m., Sept. 13, UH Fine Arts Courtyard
    Michael Gitlin’s documentary “The Birdpeople” will be screened in conjunction with the Blaffer Gallery’s exhibition of bird photographs by Jean Luc Mylayne. “The Birdpeople” explores different groups of bird enthusiasts ranging from devoted bird watchers to ornithologists. This event is part of the Mitchell Center’s “Artists Up Close Series,” which offers free performances, readings and demonstrations by artists featured in Blaffer Gallery exhibitions. “The Birdpeople” also is presented in collaboration with the Aurora Picture Show.
  • Nights on Blue Bayou: City Soundscapes
    Taylor McFerrin -7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11, Sabine-to Bagby Promenade
    McFerrin, son of famed vocalist Bobby McFerrin, creates lush aural landscapes by combining hip hop beats, acid jazz and R&B. Smooth and sometimes surreal, McFerrin’s musical style bridges contemporary technology with classic soul. He has performed around the world and his music was used to promote the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.
  • Nights on Blue Bayou: City Soundscapes
    Sona – 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15, Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade
    Local composer Kurt Stallman teams with filmmaker Alfred Guzzetti for “Sona,” a collaborative event featuring music and film. Stallman, professor of music at Rice University, composes arrangements for both acoustic and electronic ensembles and frequently collaborates with other musicians for improvisational projects and performances. Guzzetti is the Osgood Hooker Professor of Visual Arts at Harvard University and has produced numerous documentaries and experimental films.
  • Mitchell Center Alumni Residency: Open Studio
    6:30 p.m., Nov. 16, Lawndale Art Center, 4920 Main St.
    Artist Julie De Vries and vocalist Heather Shore, both graduates of the Mitchell Center’s Collaboration Among the Arts course, will be featured at the Lawndale Art Center’s fall opening.
  • Nights on Blue Bayou: City Soundscapes
    Johnny DeKam – 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 6, Sabine-to-Bagby Promendae
    Renowned as an artist, VJ and software designer, DeKam has worked with contemporary pop stars such as Eminem, Thomas Dolby, Sasha and Digweed, Dream Theater and others. He will create a site specific sound and video installation with DJ and musician Steve Nalepa.
  • Symposium: You Are Here
    Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora St.
    This two-day symposium will feature contemporary artists and researchers discussing and working with mapping, tracking and tactical media. This event is presented in collaboration with the Aurora Picture Show.