Blueprints And Perspectives at Aurora 2013.
Courtesy the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

A Q&A with Joshua King, Co-Founder of Aurora

Claire Ashley, Inflatable Objects, Aurora 2013. Photo by Scogin Mayo courtesy the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Claire Ashley, Inflatable Objects, Aurora 2013. Photo by Scogin Mayo courtesy the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Every two years, Aurora allows art to spill onto the streets of the Dallas Arts District, challenging exhibition boundaries. On October 16, the experiential festival will surround visitors with interactive pieces, participative performances, and new media installations that respond to the urban canvas. The festival includes local, national, and international artists working with light, video, sound, performance, and installation. For the first time, Aurora will bring in guest curators to collaborate in the creative process. Aurora 2015 is carefully curated by Aja Martin, Director of Zhulong Gallery; Tim Goossens, Adjunct Curator at Clocktower; Carson Chan, Independent Curator, and writer and Editor-at-Large of 032c, Berlin; Julia Kaganskiy, Director of New Inc. at the New Museum, New York City, and Aurora co-founders Shane Pennington and Joshua King. Each member of the selection committee will also curate an area of the festival. A+C contributor Haydeé Muñoz De la Rocha sat down with co-founder Joshua King to get some insight into this year’s festival, the highlights, the news and the surprises.

Joshua, for five years Aurora has been evolving and growing. What is your vision for this year’s festival?

JOSHUA KING: Our vision is for the city of Dallas to continue to embrace Aurora as its own; for international and local artists to be highlighted on the same stage; for the people of Dallas to continue to evolve their relationship with art.

The selection process changed this year to include guest curators. Why do you think this is an important change?  How do you keep a good balance between local, national and international participants?

We are thankful to have grown to a juried process that includes some prestigious curators. We accepted submissions from around the world in order to give Texas artists the opportunity to be shown in the community with international artists. The balance between local, national and international is always a trick. Our goals heading into each Aurora is to have a 50/50 selection for our events. Guest curators—some extremely talented people in the world of art—bring diversity and outside experience to the selection process.

What were you and the committee looking for when selecting the artists?

We were looking for a mix of great artwork that appealed to the senses of the audiences. We wanted it to be tangible, tantalizing, and engaging, which means we were looking for breakthrough work.

What inspired you to come together with this year’s theme “All Together Now”?

Our guest curator Julia Kaganskiy gets credit for this year’s theme. We believed it was perfect because Aurora has grown to include so many different organizations, patrons and volunteers throughout the city and we really feel that they have all come together to make Aurora a reality.

Why do you think Aurora is an important event in Dallas? What need do you think it serves?

Aurora is an important event because it gives Dallas an event to call its own, much like Austin has SXSW or Miami has Basel. Dallas has Aurora to bring the city together to celebrate the culture behind it!

What are some of the highlights this year?

Too many to count but a few not to be missed: Memo Atken at One Arts Plaza, 3 _Search at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater, Mari H. King around the Meyerson Symphony Center, Veronika Georgieva & Stephen Shanabrooke on Harwood, Danielle Georgiou’s DGDG Dance Group and the Color Condition at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater, Erica Felicella and Art Con at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

—HAYDEÉ MUÑOZ DE LA ROCHA