Art in the Open – A ‘Magical’ Event

(Charlottetown, August 31st 2011) – The City of Charlottetown, through its 2011 Cultural Capital of Canada designation, in partnership with This town is small, inc. and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, presented ‘Art in the Open’ in 5 urban spaces of downtown Charlottetown on Saturday, August 27 between 4:00pm and 12 midnight.

This first-time, one-day visual arts festival presented 36 contemporary visual art and performance installations in which approximately 80 artists from PEI, the Atlantic Region and across Canada participated. Works were presented at Victoria Park, Connaught Square, Rochford Square, Victoria Row, The Guild and various galleries in downtown and surrounding areas extended their hours of operation and included on-site demonstrations throughout the day.

The festival plotted a map of the various art display locations for public enjoyment at their leisure. There were two scheduled performances at 5pm and 7pm at The Guild but all other installations were open for public viewing and participation between 4pm-midnight.

Masks created at a special workshop in advance of the festival adorned the costumed ‘crows’ at The Crows Feet Parade that entered Victoria Row at 7:30 pm and landed at Victoria Park at 8:30pm, with the parade ‘perching’ to enjoy the artwork at various locations along the way and ending Sarah Wendt’s performance at The Guild by taking her off-stage to join the parade.

Organizers are thrilled with the response to the festival and estimate that 3,000 people participated in the event. Many respondents have asked organizers if this initiative will continue and become an annual event. One participant stated in an unsolicited email, “it was magic” while another attendee noted, “Gerald’s tree gave me goosebumps” and “At 11pm my dog and I claimed a campfire and I chanted”.

Event organizers cannot confirm what the future will bring but are hopeful to mount another event in 2012. For a pictorial view of the event, visit the Charlottetown PEI Cultural Capital of Canada 2011 Facebook page.

Art in the Open is a project supported by the Cultural Capital of Canada designation, as awarded to the City of Charlottetown for 2011. The Festival gratefully acknowledges financial contributions from the department of Canadian Heritage, The City of Charlottetown and the Province of PEI through the department of Tourism and Culture.

Program Highlights – for details, please visit


* The Fiddler and The Ballerina –Ward MacDonald /Allie Higgans· Delicate Shocks – Sarah Wendt· The Asian Chinese Cultural Artistic Performers of PEI –Bing Yiao


* The Creativity Project – Jill MacCormack, Janice McGuigan, Janeen McGuigan, Julie Love· Sand Scultpure – Abe Waterman· Storytelling Bicycles – Betty Jo McCarville · Word of Mouth (take this poem) – Ann Thurlow· Suspended Access – Rilla Marshall


* The Rumor Mill: A Human Machine for Generating Poetry – Jane Ledwell and Stephen MacInnis· Barrel of Monkeys – Gail Hodder and Mauricio Aristizábal· Drawing Connections – Damien Worth· Warning – Sandi Hartling · Clean Art Space – Lucie Bellemare


* small town residency – Valerie Salez , Holly McGee, Norma Jean MacLean· Green House – Phil Ferraro, Shaman Ferraro and Nancy Willis


* Experimental Island Films – Island Media Arts Co-op· Among Us – Valerie Salez· Compare the energy of a trauma to a cobalt cannon with a radioactive half-life of a hundred years – Valerie Salez· Add Light and Shadow Will Follow – Carl Phillis · Field of Fire – Scott Saunders· Photosynthetic – Gerald Beaulieu· Park Like Setting – Dodolab· Nest – Ahmon Katz· Fortunate – Eleanor King· Native Performance – Lone Cry Singers · Sculptures in the Park, Projection – Dominique Cruchet· Art Amidst a Clearing – Mille and Gerard Clarkes· Watch Me/Wash Me – Josh Feigin· Tent: Life-like Living – Sean Martindale· Seven Audio Stations – Michael Fernandes· ISLAND – For This Place, Its Flora and Fauna – Judith Scherer· Platform Towards a Trans-species Diplomacy (Canadian Shield Pavilion) – Wes Johnston· Last Days of Snow – Amanda Dawn Christie


* small town performance – Jamie Shannon, Harmony Wagner, Megan Stewart

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