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Artists overcome cutbacks to stage top-notch First Night

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Lights, parade, fake snow, fireworks.

Like other nonprofit initiatives in this recessionary year, First Night Austin — the arts-centered, alcohol-free urban New Year's Eve party — has had to scale back. But organizers have rallied some resourceful artists to dazzle in the new year and the new decade.

From re-purposed doors and windows, Andrea Hyland crafted a glass house that will emerge on the triangular grove of trees in front City Hall. Leave your resolutions, and they'll be transformed into bubbles.

On Auditorium Shores, Danielle and Jason Mika — with special effect technician and composer Jonathan Sylvan — present 'Joy,' a multimedia swing set, an installation of sounds and swings whose lights change color.

Also taking residence on Auditorium Shores, Richard Philips' 'Luminous Cube' is a 20-foot-by-20-foot lighted contraption in which performers will tumble, dance, juggle and spin lighted Hula-Hoops.

Leading the 6 p.m. Grand Procession down Congress Avenue will be the Capital Metro Art Bus, a vehicle graphically adorned by high school students from Club Arthouse working with local artist Cybil Guess.

And at 9 p.m. look for the Austin Rowing Club's decorated boats and illuminated waterbugs that will process along Lady Bird Lake.

And that snow that will fall during the 8 p.m. Family Festival finale? It's foam sprayed from twin fire hoses not unlike the kind used for movie special effects.

jvanryzin@statesman.com; 445-3699