Ahmedabad Art Weekly turns 200–find out what’s next in store for art-lovers in the city

Ahmedabad Art Weekly’s 200th weekly anniversary is proof that Amdavadis want to know more and more about creative happenings in the city. Know why the Weekly was started and find out how it will soon change the way we’ve experienced events forever, through technology.

As Robin Williams’ character John Keating says in the American drama Dead Poets Society, “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Knowing the power of creative pursuits, we at Creative Yatra felt there was a desperate need back in 2015 to connect art-lovers in the city with events and cultural happenings so that everyone can quench their thirst for creativity. With this intention, the Ahmedabad Art Weekly (AAW) was launched on April 1, 2015. The curated list was launched even before Creative Yatra emerged as the dedicated digital media platform that it is today. The AAW in that regards, was the first step of founding CreativeYatra. The Ahmedabad Art Weekly completes its 200th weekly anniversary today. So far, it has featured more than 1,830 events in music, performing arts, literature, visual art, theatre, film, photography, stand-up comedy, arts and nature expeditions.

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The AAW is a brainchild of Mihir Gajrawala, co-founder of Creative Yatra, who launched it alongwith Charlotte-based co-founder Dr Amit Shah. He says, “A few years back, it was difficult to find out about upcoming events in the city. Being an art appreciator myself, it was sad to realise, on many occasions, that various happenings I anticipated attending had already concluded. This gave me the idea for AAW. The weekly event calendar started off as a Facebook post, and now it’s become of greater value through all the aesthetic additions made to it. We didn’t want it to be just another calendar that mentions events, and so we made its utility wider by adding information about architectural monuments in the city and later on adding stories of luminaries of Gujarat.”

The city-specific compilation has paid an illustration tribute, so far, to more than 150 creative achievers of Gujarat and 50 architectural wonders of Ahmedabad. This is through original, hand-drawn illustrations that accompany every Weekly, that are sketched by illustration artists of CY. The write-up that accompanies every Weekly also consists of a short bio of the place or person, many of whom are unsung legends of Gujarat. People from various creative fields, including theatre, music, arts, literature and education, have been featured so far.

Dr Amit Shah says, “We are looking forward to making the AAW more interactive by releasing an app that helps people not only know about events, but also book tickets and interact with other like-minded audience members while attending these events.” The research team at CY is experimenting with how the AAW can be personalised to suggest recommended feeds based on a person’s preferred choices of the arts. There are some unique features being worked upon, however Gajrawala wouldn’t want to divulge more at this point, and would prefer to keep the surprise element intact.

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The Art Weekly has also thrived as a city-based model so far, with its focus being on Ahmedabad, so CY is now set to launch its Art Weeklies across various cities in India, starting with Vadodara. A Weekly has already been launched in Charlotte, USA, last year.

CY’s 100th AAW anniversary was marked on March 2017 by a temporary installation that was revealed by Pritzker Prize laureate BV Doshi and Founder of Kanoria Centre for Arts, Urmila Kanoria at the Art’17 event. The installation juxtaposed a large hand-drawn illustration depicting the culture of Ahmedabad and small copies of all 100 AAWs suspended with a string on a metal frame. Though these were both commemorated last year, this year, Creative Yatra will be celebrating its 200th anniversary alongside Ahmedabad’s 608th birthday and Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. To do this, the CY team is initiating an Amdavad Yatra by interviewing Amdavadis about their experiences of living in this beautiful city. The 200th AAW will also feature a tribute to the peaceful freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi and his incredible life journey.

The deep appreciation of creativity among the citizens of Ahmedabad has helped CY grow into a leading culture media space of city. Today, CreativeYatra has grown much beyond event information. CY publishes features, reviews of arts and performances, poetry, global updates on creativity and artist interviews in its own inimitable style. The team is glad that its readership has diverse demographic representation including 18-24 year old young as well as middle aged and senior culture connoisseurs. Thousands of subscribers now look forward to our Ahmedabad Art Weekly on various social media portals, WhatsApp and email accounts so they can plan their week. And they receive it every Friday morning. If you haven’t subscribed to the Ahmedabad Art Weekly yet, send a ‘Hi’ to +917016718614. ‘Like’ our Facebook page and add us on Instagram and Twitter to follow our reviews, features and news on various cultural happenings in India.

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