You are loved. By someone. Well, actually by a bicycle courier who was part of the commissioned artist project unveiled at Art Night Austin 2009. That was the message I received at a night in the galleries, sponsored by Art Alliance Austin.

The pink [unplugged] project was created by Jaclyn Pryor, a conceptual artist in Austin, who is looking to “connect all Austinites whether friends, loved ones, mere acquaintances, or strangers.” Seems like a rather ambitious initiative although the concept is simple enough. A love message—in a bottle, no less—delivered by a cyclist all dressed in pink. On pink bicycles. These are brave souls.

My gallery night kicked off at the Austin Museum of Art, which featured photography by Clifford Ross. As someone who had never made it past the museum’s gift shop, I was impressed. You mean there’s art? Art in Austin? On Congress Avenue? I grew up in the DC area, where the Corcoran Art Gallery was a ten-minute subway ride. I lived in Chicago, where the Art Institute was in walking distance. While I’m definitely not an art aficionado, I can be as snooty as an aficionado when it comes to culture.

But to its credit, Austin’s art scene does show promise, thanks in part to Art Alliance. The chauffeured bus tour included Haven, F8 Fine Art, Russell Collection, Lora Reynolds, Kirk Gallery, and Arthouse. The Arthouse featured an exhibition of Austin’s punk rock subculture—not a huge interest of mine but at least there was a bar. In fact, each gallery offered local cuisine and wine pairings. Bonus.

Art Night Austin served to preview some of the exhibits and projects which will be featured during Art Week Austin and Art City Austin, formerly the Fine Arts Festival, in April. It’s interesting to note that Art City Austin is ranked the top art fair in Texas and 20th in the nation.

Looks like a good time to spread the art love.