5 reasons you’ll want to attend the 2021 Magic City Art Connection


Woman smiling in front of art
Get ready for smiles like this all weekend long. Photo via Magic City Art Connection

Throughout the last year, Birmingham arts organizations have found new ways to thrive despite the challenges of the pandemic, including a local favorite: Magic City Art Connection. From Friday, April 23 through Sunday, April 25, the 2021 Magic City Art Connection is reimagining the classic arts festival with an updated location and new safety protocols. Keep reading for 5 reasons why this is the must-see event of the spring.

1. Magic City Art Connection is a Birmingham favorite

Magic City Art Connection 2021 Poster
The 2021 poster features art by the featured artist + the updated logo. Photo via Magic City Art Connection

Magic City Art Connection has been a Birmingham favorite for over 37 years, and it’s obvious why. Its founder, Eileen Kunzman, created the festival to bring a thriving sense of creative energy to Birmingham. Since then, the festival has become a beloved event in the Magic City that captivates the minds of Birmingham collectors and arts supporters alike.

  • What: Magic City Art Connection, Birmingham’s largest city center outdoor arts festival
  • When: Friday, April 23 12PM-6PM | Saturday, April 24 10AM-6PM | Sunday, April 25 10AM-5PM
  • Where: Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, 20 32nd Street North, Birmingham, Alabama, 35222
  • Tickets: $10-$12 | Kids 15 & under receive free entry | Magic City Art Connection recommends purchasing tickets in advance for faster and contact-free entry. Advance tickets go on sale April 5.

2. In 2021, the event is refreshing its logo and location

Birmingham, MCAC, Magic City Art Connection
This year’s event is coming with updates for a vibrant atmosphere. Photo via Magic City Art Connection

In 2021, the event organizers are unveiling the Festival’s new brand identity as well as staging the 3 day weekend at a new location which allows for better achievement of its planned COVID-19 protocols. These changes bring new energy and added interest to the classic spring festival, creating a safe and inspiring weekend for each attendee. 

The new logo is contemporary + bold

2021 Magic City Art Connection new logo
The new Magic City Art Connection logo designed by Scott Miller. Photo via Magic City Art Connection

In the summer of 2020, Magic City Art Connection worked with their longtime collaborator, Scott Miller of Miller Communications, to create a fusion logo for a hybrid festival weekend in November—MOSS MAGIC. The logo was such a hit that the team decided to use its fresh design as the new brand identity for Magic City Art Connection.

This year, the festival is at a new location—Sloss Furnaces

Sloss Furnaces - 2021 Magic City Art Connection new venue
Magic City Art Connection’s new venue. Photo via Magic City Art Connection

Make your way to the Birmingham jewel, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, from April 23-25 to experience the festival at this new location. After years at Linn Park, this 2021 venue will be an exciting adjustment that blends the festival’s sights and sounds with the city’s beautiful skyline.

3. The artists you know + love are coming back to the 2021 Magic City Art Connection

Birmingham, MCAC, Magic City Art Connection
Find beautiful works of art to add to your own collection. Photo via Magic City Art Connection

Artists are the heart of the Magic City Art Connection, and each year, artists come back to exhibit because of the loyal support they receive from local collectors, the Festival, and the Birmingham community at large. From this year’s featured artist to local painters, creatives of all mediums choose to share their works at the festival. Browse the 150 juried artists from the region and around the country and take a look at the virtual marketplace kicking off after the festival.

This year includes the special exhibition “Within Reach: Celebrated Black Alabama Artists”. This curated exhibition gives tribute to the invaluable accomplishments by these artists that are creating a solid arts legacy for our community. MCAC looks forward to acknowledging their work in shaping an evolving world of the visual arts in the region. 

This year’s featured artist, Garland Farwell, moved to York, Alabama after 20 years living and working in New York. You can see his creativity and his simple yet sophisticated approach to art in his Hex signs and quilt blocks. His art beautifully blends upcycled wood with modern color and geometry.

“It’s an honor to be this year’s featured artist. It’s not only validating, it also makes me feel a part of a great community of artists and art lovers. There’s a kindness and appreciation here that’s hard to come by.”

Garland Farwell, MCAC Featured Artist

Chloe York, Painting

Chloe York is an abstract painter based in Birmingham, and this is her second year participating. Her abstract paintings will bring vibrancy to the event with bright colors and playful patterns.

“Magic City Art Connection is a valuable local resource for regional (and traveling) makers to showcase their work right in the middle of the Magic City. It’s always such a pleasure to work with the staff and volunteers of the event and to meet other artists and makers.”

Chloe York, Painter

Keith Thomson, Painting

Keith Thomson began participating in the Magic City Art Connection in 2017 after years of spending his free time coaching baseball. With experience as a political cartoonist, he thinks of his paintings as realistic cartoons.

“As a parent taking my kids to the Magic City Art Connection each year—in the years before we started living and breathing baseball—I was blown away by the creative and engaging art programs they offered for children. As a participant, I’ve found it a singular opportunity for meeting other artists, for exposure to collectors, and, in general, for fun.

And, really, the only way the MCAC staff could be any more helpful is if they cured cancer or achieved world peace during the course of the festival weekend.”

Keith Thomson, Painter

4. This year’s event has something for everyone

No matter what you’re interested in, you’ll find something to enjoy at the festival. Beautiful art from 150 fine artists? Check. Immersive art workshops for children? Check. Exciting live performances and tasty food? Check.

Imagination Festival for children

MCAC Imagination Festival
Bring kiddos’ imagination to life at the Imagination Festival. Photo via Magic City Art Connection

Want to bring kids along to the event? Along with free entry for children under 15, there are a variety of interesting, socially distanced art workshops and interactive art experiences for you and them to enjoy together. Kids make art at Imagination Festival!

Delicious food + live performances

MCAC food
Complement your arts experience with mouthwatering food. Photo via Magic City Arts Connection

Your time at the Magic City Art Connection will include everything you need for an amazing weekend. Browse the café for bites from local caterers or order from food trucks, then head to the stage under the main shed at Sloss Furnaces for live music and dance performances with socially distanced seating.

Want even more ways to enjoy the wonderful cuisine of Birmingham? Get your tickets for the 24th annual Corks & Chefs.  Enjoy one of two sessions for an hour and a half of tastings and drinks from great Birmingham restaurants and chefs, breweries, vintners, cocktail bars, and more. Trust us, you won’t want to miss this—tickets go on sale April 5.

5. The 2021 Magic City Art Connection is keeping you safe with updated protocols

In addition to the venue change, additional safety measures are in place. Here are some to expect:

  • Bring your masks—they’re required for entry and walking throughout the festival. Specific policies are in place for the Corks & Chefs event and lounging at the café. Forgot yours? They’ll have $1 masks available there.
  • Follow one-way directional signage as you walk through & explore the artist booths. They’re placed farther apart, so social distancing’s a breeze.
  • Use the hand sanitizing stations located throughout the festival.
  • Buying a mobile ticket in advance will make it even easier to enter the festival without contact. If you’re purchasing day of, they prefer credit cards. Don’t worry, though—they’ll accept cash if that’s all you have.

Order your advance tickets for Magic City Art Connection taking place April 23-25 at Sloss Furnaces starting April 5. Don’t forget to follow Magic City Art Connection on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to keep up with updates before the event.

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Cecilia Wood
Cecilia Wood
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