ATLart[[06] points the way

For the third year, Atlanta's growing roster of galleries is teaming up for ATLart[06], a three-week event that, like the Brand Atlanta campaign, seems determined to remind citizens of Atlanta that there is this thing called culture out there some of you may want to check out when the thrill of lap dances at the Cheetah and the Barney's Co-Op opening wear off.

ATLart[06]'s kickoff event, ARThouse[06] (Jan. 25-Feb. 12), is the most transparent effort to convince a culturally timid but rolling-in-it crowd that art really is for them: See how nicely it coordinates with your Aga stove and Brunschwig & Fils-slipcovered ottomans? An 11,000-square-foot Buckhead überhouse (roughly the size of the exhibition space in the High's Anne Cox Chambers Wing) will play host to a selection of artwork from local galleries.

Though you can lead the wealthy to art, you can't make them buy. But you can give children crayons and paper and be richly rewarded with something of a Cy Twombly or Basquiat bent. Probably the most generous and risky of all the ATLart[06] events is Art Start (Feb. 11, 1-3 p.m.), a day of children's activities at local galleries. Participating galleries include 18th-century French antiques-filled Spalding Nix Fine Art and the even braver Vespermann Glass Gallery, which invites children inside its breakables-filled space for an event that sounds a little like asking the Three Stooges to cater your wedding.

But when Art Start is done, responsible parents should pack their budding Francis Bacons off to the baby sitter. You don't want to bring the darlings along to the ATLart[06] climax, where they would surely be trampled in some replay of The Day of the Locust. The Art Papers Art Auction (Feb. 11, 7-10 p.m.) promises, as always, some sweet deals on emerging and established artists and a feeding frenzy to rival anything the Georgia Aquarium has on tap.

For more information on ATLart[06], visit www.atlart.com.

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