Art & About Sydney is a collaborative arts festival where every street, laneway, building site, intersection and thoroughfare is a canvas for creation and storytelling.

To mark the launch of Art & About Sydney 2013,  Martin Place will be transformed into a night of film, music and cocktails for Friday Night Live. The night’s festivities will include a live screening of The Arrival by the Academy Award winning Shaun Tan.  This masterpiece of visual storytelling will be complemented by a live score by renowned percussionist Ben Walsh and the 10-piece Orkestra of the Underground.

Following The Arrival, get set for the headline performance by surf rock super-group The Break featuring members of Midnight Oil, Hunters and Collectors and The Violent Femmes. The Break will deliver a 90-minute set of rips, swells and chants from their new album, Space Farm.

Hitch a ride on one of five vintage tour buses and discover some of this year’s installations or explore a museum or gallery and see our City as you’ve never seen it before.  Staying up late as part of Friday Night Live’s launch party will be the Justice & Police Museum with its Penguin Plays Rough at City of Shadows exhibition or head to Custom’s House library to enjoy chilled music, readings and performance.  Stroll through the popular Artists’ Market at the State Library of NSW or hop over to the Australian Museum and take in the awe-inspiring Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

Snailovation – 24 gigantic neon snails will slither into some of Sydney’s most iconic public spaces including Martin Place, Hyde Park and Customs House Square.

FIELD – this mesmerising artwork, illuminated at night, brings the surreal into a public space in a unique way. 81 mirrored posts will be installed as a 24m x 24m maze in Hyde Park South creating ever-changing scenes, where no two experiences are the same.

I Think I Can – an interactive model railway town installed at Central Station that invites people to engage and play by becoming ‘temporary residents’ of Springfield via a tiny puppet avatar. The life of each character and Springfield can be tracked online through a blog function and the imaginary town’s online newspaper.

SPILL – three inner-city playgrounds will be brought to life with a series of 30-minute highly engaging, choreographed dance performances by Shaun Parker & Company. SPILL blends storytelling and music with street dance, using equipment in children’s playgrounds as its stage.

Walking Men WorldwideTM – lining the City’s streets will be a photographic collage of pedestrian traffic icons from around the world.  The Banner Gallery – Walking Men WorldwideTM features 99 global traffic light characters representing the modern ‘walking man’.

Bread and Butter – even in a continuously evolving city, some things never change and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!  Photographer David Adams pays homage to some of Sydney’s favourite, old establishments and their owners including Nick the Barber, Doris Goddard from the Hollywood Hotel, the Perkal Brothers shoemakers, Andy from McKenzie’s Hardware Store, Edinson from Legion Cabs and Eleni and Chrisanthy from the Oceanic Café. Each share their stories with images and words, documenting a generation that experienced either the great depression, WWII or a new beginning as an immigrant. The stories of the owners have been captured in a fascinating video installation and supplementary newspaper.

Sydney Life – 22 images by finalists of the prestigious photographic competition will be on display in Hyde Park. The striking, bed-sheet-sized images portraying the landscape, community and eccentricities of Sydney life will be showcased for the duration of the festival with the winner announced at the Friday Night Live launch party.

Little Sydney Lives – Sydney Life’s junior counterpart will feature 20 of the best images by kids aged 11 and under.  Exhibited in Sandringham Gardens, Little Sydney Lives captures Sydney from a child’s perspective and gives us an insight into the world of our smallest citizens.

More than 50 associated events are included in the Art & About Sydney 2013 program, from interactive experiences and exhibitions to workshops and photography challenges.