Posts Tagged ‘festival’
written by Gail Hodder
So, here we are, all friends, at our local watering hole; The Al!bi Lounge. Five visual artist hovering at the beginning of the evening. Excited with the anticipation of the night to come. In the next several hours we will not only get to talk about our artwork, but people will witness the process and the craziness that partakes to achieve the end result.
A shot of tequila is decided on. Celebratory and calming. We set up our easels, our paints and other relative flotsam. Computer and projector, wire and tools, plasticine and palettes. Each of us thinking of something clever to work on and claiming our space at the Lounge. The dance floor is a consideration. There must be room for dancing!
We begin our artmaking. Some more hesitant then others. Showing our art in public is normalcy, creating in public, not so much. But our audience is interested and approach with inquiries. As I make inquires back, I find out that most are art enthusiasts themselves, interested in learning more. Questions of materials, sources, schools, techniques. Others ask familiar skeptical questions, “What is it?”, “Why?” Our answers are practiced. We make them feel at ease with their skepticism.
The night ensues with more wine and more audience and our artwork takes shape. We slip into a comfortable rhythm of greeting our friends and acquaintances who have come out to encourage us. We pause to explain or chat. We own this place for the evening. We have become the performers.
Dancing breaks out as the DJ continues to spin his techno, hip hop, funk. The beat and energy is contagious. It’s getting late now. Our energy doesn’t waiver, but is only heightened. When the lights come on and the end is threatening, we drop our art making implements and join the dancers. They seem surprised, but we are well on our way to catching the groove and we blend in, in an arm flailing, hips swaying, belting out the words celebratory dance. Wahoo’s all around when the music stops.
We discuss when we might perform our art-making again.
We leave exhilarated wanting more and more and all the time.
Wishing the night not to end.
*** check out what city nights is all about here! Don’t forget to sign up for our next event by April 10th!
Written By Becka Viau
The scope of this designation was announced today, and I have to say there is a lot happening in a very short amount of time. The Cultural Capital program will kick off during the ECMA awards and conference week in April and artists, organizers, and community partners will be busy busy busy until January 2012.
Some exciting highlights that were announced this morning are:
1. Cultural Captial Launch – A Sound Celebration
The East Coast Music Association (ECMA) in partnership with the City
of Charlottetown – a designated Cultural Capital of Canada – Symphony Nova Scotia, and Music PEI will
present ‘A Sound Celebration’ to officially kick-off East Coast Music Week 2011 and formally launch the
2011 Cultural Capital of Canada programming.
‘A Sound Celebration’ will feature solo and collaborative performances by Symphony Nova Scotia under
Music Director Bernhard Gueller and Resident Conductor Martin MacDonald, and Prince Edward Island
artists Jenn Grant, Meaghan Blanchard, Paper Lions, Richard Wood and Vishtèn.
The concert will take place in the Confederation Centre of the Arts’ Homburg Theatre on Thursday, April 14
at 8:00pm. Tickets are available for purchase at the Confederation Centre’s box office or online at
www.confederationcentre.com. A limited amount is also available via ticketpro.ca.
*** a great part of this initiative is that the artists working with Symphony Nova Scotia will have charts of their music developed that can translate to other symphonies around the world.
2. ECMA Arts Linkages Program -Art @ Night - Supported by the Cultural Capital Designation, and IMAC
This program will showcase artwork by local and Maritime multi-media artists in vacant storefront windows
around downtown Charlottetown during evening hours. Local and Maritime multimedia artworks will be
presented for free to the public in various storefront windows. To view the call for submissions please visit here.
3. Pen & Inkling Festival and other Literary Events
Coordinated by the Prince Edward Island Writers’ Guild, a series of events and initiatives celebrating and
supporting literary arts in the Cultural Capital: Introduction of French student submissions accepted for the
Island Literary Awards; an extensive Writers in Schools program connecting published Island authors with
students in the two Charlottetown families of schools (30 school visits); and a compelling Literary event,
the Pen & Inkling Festival, featuring workshops, readings, the Island Literary Awards, songwriters’ circle,
lectures, book launches, exhibits, and guest reading and lecture by one of Canada’s leading Native authors.
(September 30 – October 2, 2011)
4. Film & Interactive Digital Media Productions – “Through my Eyes” Legacy Series
In partnership with the Island Media Arts Co-op, the Island Film Factory and the Interactive Media Alliance,
the City’s Cultural Capital of Canada programming will support production of five new short film and
interactive digital media works from local creators, featuring the designation theme and reflecting
Charlottetown. These works will become lasting documents of Charlottetown’s cultural identity and
creativity. The selected projects will be announced at the Island Media Arts Festival in May, and presented
at a special screening event in the fall – potentially as an opening or closing event to the Pen & Inkling
5. Young Company!! – Confederation Centre
A brand new Young Company production, The Talking Stick, respectfully telling our First Peoples’ stories, using music, dance and spoken word to remind all people of the great diversity and surprising commonalities of our First Nations communities. Aboriginal and First Nations students from every province and territory are invited to audition for the twelve roles with the expectation that P.E.I. students will show great interest and pride in the production.
This is a great opportunity to showcase the amazing cultural community in Charlottetown and to build sustainable partnerships and initiatives that will continue to benefit Island artists in the future. Exciting.
*** this article can be found in the Spring Edition 2011 of Visual Art News magazine which can be purchased here.
This Town is Small, Inc.
by Mireille Eagan
Bureaucracy is one side of a two-sided coin, John A. MacDonald on one side, and from the other side of reality, what voice of poetic aspiration calls? This is the curse of the artist-run space.
- AA Bronson, The Humiliation of the Bureaucrat
“Why have an artist-run centre? Because there isn’t one. There isn’t one here. It’s that simple,” states Becka Viau. “Basically, as soon as we get our ‘boots,’ we’ll start walking around. We have to be strategic in our presentation. So far we’ve incorporated, created a business plan, developed a balanced board. But, we need to learn business speak, need to be good at the game, or they’re not going to let us in easily.” She starts singing in a low voice while dancing: “and what do we haaave? The communitaaay. They’re our cape, and we are wearing the boots of our business plaaan.”
Becka is one of several artists, writers, and musicians that have come together under the moniker of this town is small, a collective that has made great strides toward bringing an artist-run centre to Prince Edward Island in only a year. Developing projects through collaboration between genres, this town is small has hosted several art and music events, runs a well-oiled blog with submissions of art and writing from the local community, and is now ready to begin creating sustainable partnerships with other local non-profits in the arts sector. However, their goal long term is a space– a physical space for exhibitions, musical performances, studios, education.
The lack of an artist-run space is poignantly felt on Prince Edward Island. The Confederation Centre Art Gallery is the only institution that pays artist fees for the exhibition of work. Although they regularly incorporate local artists into programming, the payment for a solo show barely dents an artist’s living expenses. In addition, the price and paperwork for getting one’s art off the island are often formidable. Lack of shows means one cannot readily apply for federal funds– a depressing circle. A properly funded artist-run centre would be in the position to provide artist fees, as well as provide an essential counterpoint of creative conversation with what the CCAG is able to offer.
Several attempts have been made on PEI to establish an artist-run centre, and each has had their particular difficulties. The first official centre, the Great George St. Gallery, closed down in the nineties despite an impressive history of exhibitions. With interest toward supporting their local artists, they increasingly operated like a commercial gallery and as a result lost their Canada Council funding. From 2000 to 2001, a social/drinking group of artists and writers called the Friday Artists ‘Round Town Somewhere (or FARTS) organised several shows in the Gallery at the Guild, received provincial money for programming, and were able to pay artist fees. However, with little sustainability in terms of staff, the group’s efforts dissipated.
In the past few years several new collectives have appeared. Peake Street Studios is a modest but vibrant project based in the home of Donnalee Downe, one that regularly shows group exhibitions with work by members (and who recently organised an inter-provincial art exchange with its members, Gallery Connexion, and Eastern Edge Gallery called Out of Purgatory). Other examples of organised art spaces include Ampersand (a coffee bar, t-shirt shop, exhibition space, and hang out for the younger creative crowd) and the recent addition of MUSEartspace. None of these locations can or could pay artist fees, instead offering a more commercial presentation.
For this town is small, it’s going to be a long haul, with delicate balance at every intersection. Artist-run centres in Canada are supported through government grants at federal, provincial, and municipal levels, but money is difficult to obtain currently. For most funding bodies, a collective must have completed about three years of programming where they pay artist fees– not easy.
Yet, without a physical location and almost no funds, this town is small has managed to work with other venues on various projects. The most recent, “Iris Mercurial: The Passage of Night” at the Alibi Lounge, saw a substantial group of local artists donate their various talents to produce an evening of living sculptures, poetry, and video. Future plans include Small Town Sessions, with the online presentation of eight informal performances by local musicians be recorded in alternative venues such as rooftops, churches and living rooms. After that, there’s talk of organising a festival.
It’s a remarkable string of successes, raising questions of practicality and the benefits of being light on one’s feet: does this town is small actually need a physical space? Even as most artist-run centres move into their second and third decade of operation, the “problem” of space is continual. Some centres own their premises, some benefit from controlled rents in buildings provided by their city or province. Many are constantly moving at the will of their city’s real estate market. In the Maritimes, Gallery Connexion has obtained a location after a year of transience, their long term space lost after a major flood. Khyber ICA engages in an ongoing struggle to save their location in downtown Halifax. Eyelevel has had to move regularly due to rental costs.
These difficulties are not new, and as a result the notion of decentralised activity has always been in play. Mail Art is just one example that has regularly dotted the artist-run landscape as a lightweight method of sharing work across provincial and national boundaries. It is also common to find artist collectives that move spaces as provided, such as The Upstairs Apartment Gallery in Halifax, who began by conducting exhibitions in a bachelor apartment. With the sale of their regular building, the collective no longer has a fixed location, and moves to whatever location is offered by volunteers.
As mighty as it is, the future of this town is small critically depends on its ability to work with “boots” and “cape,” business and community. A permanent location would allow the collective to stabilize their operations, to provide support to its local community through promotion and education. However, its eventual form rests inextricably with that same local community. This has been the case with every artistic endeavour throughout the history of grassroots initiatives, because really, every town is small.
Mireille Eagan is a freelance curator and writer based in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
For more information on This Town is Small, please visit thistownissmall.wordpress.com
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Written in a clear and sophisticated style by some of the most talented arts writers in the province, Visual Arts News reflects the diversity of Nova Scotia’s geographic and cultural communities. The magazine is committed to providing balanced, engaging information about visual arts and artists in Nova Scotia. Our Editorial Committee is responsible for content selection, and the editor for assigning writers to each story. Although we are a non-profit organization supported in part by advertising, we recognize the importance of maintaining a clear separation between our independent editorial content and any advertising materials found in the magazine. Visual Arts News cannot guarantee editorial content or placement to advertisers.
Visual Arts News is the only magazine dedicated to contemporary visual art in Nova Scotia. Although our focus is mainly Nova Scotian art and artists, we also accept stories about Atlantic Canadian, national and international art events that we believe are of interest to our readership.
written by Becka Viau
this town is small is not the only group of its kind in the Maritimes! Although small town is structured as an artist-run centre it has a similar collaborative community approach to a group based out of New Brunswick called Feelsgood.ca. Based from a blog site the group organizes events and promotes emerging artists’ work of all genres. It is nice to know that Small Town is not alone and that other communities have benefited from a similar approach to community engagement and support for the arts.
Feelsgood.ca is gearing up for their 2nd annual Folly Fest, a celebration of local art, music, and community, set to happen at the Queen’s County Fairgrounds in beautiful Gagetown Village, NB, July 9th and 10th, 2010. Festivals are a great way to promote solidarity between various genres of artists, building community support for the arts and exporting local culture into the national realm.
Ben Allain, originally from Summerside PEI is an active member of the feelsgood.ca crew… and he is currently having a Christmas Bonanza sale of his playful and romantic artwork with 15% of all sales directly supporting the Feelsgood.ca Folly Fest 2011. Art makes a great gift ( for christmas or anytime!), and it is nice to know that by supporting an Island Artist you are also supporting a great collaborative community event. Check out the Sale info below!
right through mid-January
Fifteen percent of sales will go toward Follyfest 2011‚ put on by the
fun fine folks at FeelsGood.ca.
Eighty-five percent of sales will go toward Benjamin’s second annual
The Great and Big Holiday Artwork Bonanza.
There are a hundred-and-some drawings and paintings and photographs‚
some dating from 2006 and made new. er.
No Interesting Offers Refused. Please send a message to inquire.
Thank you for sitting down and looking.
(For details on the sale‚ please view the “description” portion of the
photo album’s main page.)