StArts Fest an arts smorg
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 06:00 am
Are You In? That’s the slogan in big bold letters at the 5th annual StArts Festival coming to St. Albert on September 27 to 29.
Peter Moloney, chair for the St. Albert Celebrates the Arts Committee, the organizing body for the free, three-day festival, sure hopes so.
“The festival has grown slowly every year and it’s more well known. What I think is neat, is that it’s not the same thing every year. We try new things. We keep popping up with new ideas such as Story Slam or Youth Improv and this year we have Keys for the City,” says Moloney.
This year StArts Fest, an extension of Alberta Culture Days, has given free rein to an eclectic bunch of disciplines ranging from film, youth improv, concerts and visual arts to crafts, poetry, writing workshops and book launches.
The festival’s launch on Friday starts quietly with Tall Tales, a captivating exhibit of Alysse Bowd’s ceramics and Wanda Lock’s mixed media works at the Art Gallery of St. Albert.
Across the street at Musée Heritage Museum, speedsters who can’t wait to strap on the blades will enjoy the exhibit Lace Up: Canada’s Passion for Skating.
Starting at 7 p.m. the St. Albert Public Library brings back Prairie Tales 15, a 2013 film anthology of Alberta’s best screen professionals. The 15 short movies range from animation to documentary to real life. This year’s themes tackle everything from the environment and oilrigs to dreams and burlesque.
“They’re an eclectic collection and they always stimulate conversation,” says library organizer Heather Dolman.
For three days starting Friday, the Visual Arts Studio Association of St. Albert (VASA) hosts an exposé of art and design that includes art exhibits, speakers, workshops and demonstrations.
Saturday starts off slow and easy with The Canada Project at St. Albert Place lobby where visitors can write their thoughts on peace, art, culture and community. Right there and then it will be woven into a slowly evolving display.
Moloney mentions that St. Albert Visual Arts Council has really stepped up to make themselves more visible to the public. Instead of waiting for visitors to saunter in their respective studios, the floral arts, paper, painters’ and quilters guilds will set up in St. Albert Place’s hallways performing demonstrations and leading crafts.
The quick-thinking Youth Improv Theatre Sports at Progress Hall in St. Albert Place promises to be funnier and livelier. St. Albert’s KIDPROVISORS pit their off-the-wall energy against Lil’ Off the Top, former kid improvisers in a battle of wits.
“The youth improv group did the Fringe this year and they were a hit,” notes Moloney.
In its annual partnership with the festival, the Arden Theatre presents family entertainer Norman Foote blending comedy, theatre and music. About 120 to 160 students from École Muriel Martin and École Leo Nickerson will be on stage singing with Foote.
“He’s hilarious. I laughed harder than I ever laughed in a long time. He has this universal humour we all enjoy,” comments Caitlin North, the Arden’s professional programming presenter.
Over at the art gallery, local poets share five minutes of poetry in collaboration with a special showing of visual arts sparked by Sandra Mooney-Ellerbeck’s award winning Imprints.
And the ever-popular Story Slam, accompanied by a cool glass of wine, once again tops the menu at Ric’s Grill. At the moment, six slammers are signed up, but more are welcome.
“If four more sign up that’s fine. The limit is 10. So it should be another great slam even with six,” Mooney-Ellerbeck says. Slammers wishing to sign up can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The St. Albert Public Library also introduces MakerSpace, an activity that blends technology and crafts. Using broken electronics, discarded CDs and DVD’s and tons of imagination, participants can create a community collage.
Later in the evening the library plays host to Michael Hingston’s literary debut of The Dilettantes and Diana Davidson’s historical 1800s novel The Pilgrimage.
Shifting into a lower gear, Sunday at the library is devoted to a writing workshop with regional writer-in-residence Natasha Dean and mystery writer Janice MacDonald.
Later in the afternoon, Understanding Ursula, the final novel of Corinne Jeffrey’s trilogy will be launched. A Q&A follows a reading.
Last but not least Keys For the City, a special project that turned three pianos into hands-on musical sculptures, will be available for playing at St. Albert Place plaza, La Crema Caffé and Arcadia Café and Bar.
In an attempt to be more visible and distinct, the committee hired Samantha Williams-Chapelsky to design five vertical flags that will be hung on lampposts at various downtown locations.
Molony had the last word with, “There’s a lot of energy from a lot of different groups going into this festival, and we want to encourage everybody to come. There’s something for everybody.”