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Art lovers and artists around Siouxland are getting ready for Downtown Partners' Second Annual Art Affair, a celebration of local artwork that will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 10 on Fourth Street between Jackson and Nebraska Streets.

According to Joschua Schanda, a recent political science and international affairs graduate from Morningside College (who didn't want to go back to his home country of Germany quite yet), last year's event was a huge success.

"When we started our Block Party series, we hosted a number of different events around downtown," said Schanda. "The first Art Affair started as part of the Block Party series, and was a huge success last year. So although we won't host another event under the banner of our former 'Block Party,' we kept the Art Affair, and we are hoping to make it an annual event."

The event last year took place on Seventh Street, very close to the former artist hangout, the Benson Building. Now that most of the artists that were kicked out of that space currently occupy Gallery 103 in the Ho-Chunk Centre, the Art Affair this year will take place right outside of their new home so they can peddle their wares inside, as well.

"We are going to try to have 40 plus artists (there are currently 32 signed up) from around the Siouxland area," said Schanda. "Around two-thirds of the artists will be out on the street, and the remaining third will be in Gallery 103.

"The artists can present their art for free (consumers will have to pay for the wares, of course). They set up their own tents and we provide the event around it. We will bring in food trucks, live music, radio and we want to create a family-friendly atmosphere in which Sioux City citizens can enjoy a morning and afternoon with their family. We want them to see and purchase locally made art."

Another point of having it in this location is to introduce more people to Gallery 103, which just recently opened its doors to the public. There are 18 artists that call this space home, each toting unique brands of art.

Also on deck for the day will be face-painting, chalking the streets and games such as bags (corn-hole).

"We try to offer different things," said Schanda. "We will have different works from photography, to painting, jewelry, paper art, ceramic, wood work, glass and fiber art. There will be a variety."

But what makes this event different from something like ArtSplash?

"There are some similarities," he said. "Downtown Partners tries to encourage people to go downtown, though. There are a lot of cool events around Sioux City, but the unique thing Downtown Partners does is try to create a vibrant downtown."

Upcoming events Downtown Partners is planning include Up in Smoke, a cooking competition in front of The Marquee slated for 1 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 14. People will grill chicken or pork and a jury will decide the winner. There is open enrollment right now.

Also coming up will be Parking Day, an event started in 2005 in San Francisco. In this event people will reclaim parking spots downtown and place booths in the spots to vend various items and do different activities. This will happen on Sept. 20. Stay tuned for more details.

The final big event Downtown Partners is planning for this season is Alley Art. There are as of now 10-12 artists that will be spray painting the alley between Jackson, Nebraska, Fourth and Fifth Streets. There will be food, drinks, music and a whole lot of graffiti. This will cost $10 to attend. Stay tuned for more details on this event, as well.

"We try to revive downtown and expand the business world here," said Schanda. "We want to show the public that it is super cool down here, and want people to come down on Saturday. Check out the businesses. Check out the new gallery. Check out the museum. We invite people to come enjoy downtown."

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