Sometimes an art festival is not just an art festival.
In the case of Bulbfest: Resilience, this weekend’s festival of creative installations, paintings, sculptures and dance performances at the Albany Bulb open space, is a love letter.
The two-day fest, May 4-5, is about love for this craggy knob of land at the foot of Buchannan Street at the Albany waterfront, despite protruding concrete slabs and old rebar (it used to be a construction-debris landfill last century). And it’s about preserving The Bulb’s quirky history as a free-wheeling, no-man’s land of found-art sculptures, impromptu performances, graffiti art, dog walking, parties and homeless camps.
The property is owned by the city of Albany with long-stalled plans to clean it up and turn it into part of the Eastshore State Park. So the May 4-5 festival is a chance to show the public and various regulatory agencies what The Bulb is all about, organizers say.
“Basically this is not just a festival, it’s a movement. We want to save The Bulb’s one-of-a-kind legacy of creativity,” said Susan Moffat, who founded the group, Love the Bulb, with the goal of protecting its wild, artsy feel. “We want to fill The Bulb with art and dance and performance and show the importance of this space where people can connect with art, especially at a time when artists are getting squeezed out of the Bay Area.”
Moffat says The Bulb is an “endangered habitat,” a no-cost outdoor zone “for artists to present their sculptures, art and performance to eager, non-traditional audiences.”
“If The Bulb becomes part of the state park, there will be changes,” she said in a phone interview. “The art will be removed. We are not trying to prevent change, or even just protect the existing sculptures. Just preserve the creative tradition.”
To highlight this goal, more than 10 new art installations — ranging from sculptures and paintings to audio art and poetry works — will be on display from May 4 through the end of July. Visitors can get a map to find works scattered around The Bulb at bulbfest.org.
* Bulbfest: Resilience: Albany Bulb Shoreline Park, 1 Buchanan St., Albany; parking is limited; find more details at www.bulbfest.org.