This Weekend I’m Going to ‘Paint the Town Red’

I know it’s only Wednesday, but I’m already looking forward to the weekend.

And on Saturday night I am going to paint the town red. No, really, I am. On Saturday night I’ll looking forward to attending the arts event Paint the Town Red, held annually here in Birmingham to support the Jefferson-Shelby Chapter of the American Red Cross. I’ve been hearing about this event since I returned to Birmingham three years ago, but have yet to experience it for myself.

Recently I chatted with Celeste Laborde, a local artist on the planning committee for Paint the Town Red, about what I could expect at this year’s event. I’m especially excited about an art installation by Laurie Shapiro of Pittsburgh which she called “Inside my Dead Grandmother’s Womb. Laurie Shapiro describes her piece this way: “’Inside my Dead Grandmother’s Womb’ is an interactive cave installation made with muslin, paper-mache, silk screen drawings, painting, lighting, and pillows…people are encouraged to go inside, as a place of meditation, reflection, or communication.”

Read on to learn more about Paint the Town Red. 

For folks like me who have never attended Paint the Town Red, how would you describe the event? 

Paint the Town Red is a great event with something for everybody. It’s a fun and dynamic evening of art, video, music, food, and dancing that takes place on 2nd Ave. North in downtown Birmingham. The festival takes place in the venues in that space (Rogue Tavern, Das Haus, and Urban Standard) as well as in the street! Outside is going to be alive with large digital art projections from artists from all over. This year we will have two outside stages with live music and, of course, “The Dome” which serves as a music venue and projection space.

Will there be DJs and bands again this year, as I understand there have been in the past? 

Yes! The music is going to be awesome this year! A wide variety of sounds like Dubmassive, Kids Your Age, The Cancers, Jesse Payne and many others will be there. We also have a great line up of DJs this year in our 44 foot geodesic dome, Katie and John Gaiser  will be VJing large projections in real time along with the DJs. Birmingham’s own The Green Seed should not be missed! 

This year we are doing something new for us. Starting at 10 p.m. the dome will go into Silent Disco mode. The music will keep going but will only be able to be heard through one of 150 wireless headsets available (first come first served!). I’m super excited about this. I first attended a Silent Disco at Bonnaroo one year and it is a blast! 

Inside My Mother’s Womb by Laurie Shapiro

Tell us about some of the artists whose work we’ll see this year, particularly any female artists since we’re all about girl power here at

This year’s festival is going to be full of a lot of very strong work from many talented people – students, amateurs and working professionals from all over Alabama, Pittsburgh, Florida and even Italy! 

I think your readers will be very interested in seeing an installation piece called “Inside My Dead Grandmothers Womb” by Pittsburgh artist Laurie Shapiro. Ms. Shapiro will be coming down from Pittsburgh with her music collaborator, Daniel Sabio, to create her work – a hanging sculpture that viewers can walk into and become surrounded by the work, which is quite a touching tribute to her grandmothers femininity.

We will also be featuring several Alabama artists such as Randy Gachet, Karen Graffeo, Ryan Carlson, Gary Chapman and more.  
You’re an artist yourself. Tell us a little bit about the work you do.  Will your work be featured at the event? 

I am a painter and a performance artist. I normally create large scale figurative works with ink on canvas, but lately I have been exploring creating paintings with only textures and hand painted words. Improv modern dance and butoh are also favorite creative outlets for me. 

The piece “Re: RE: Fwd: FWD:” by Karen Graffeo was shot by Ms. Graffeo in Vernazza, Italy and edited here by me. We will also be showing a piece shot by Leo Tichelli Studios that I appear in with dancers Stella Nystrom and Mary Fochee. Working on this event has been very inspiring and educational. 

To purchase your tickets to Paint the Town Red visit

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