This year’s theme for Art in the Open
This year’s Art in the Open, Charlottetown’s outdoor public art festival, is happening August 25 from 4pm to midnight, throughout the downtown core of the city.
This is the 8th year of the event, which features temporary artworks ranging from sculptures and installations to performances and projections. Artists from across Canada will share the city’s parks and public spaces with PEI artists and projects by local community groups who will manifest the theme, “Future Tense,” that considers the tension between many possibilities the future presents to us.
A guide booklet can be picked up at information booths the day of the event, or beforehand at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown City Hall, Kent Building Supplies, or Receiver Coffee on Victoria Row. There is also a website, artintheopenpei.com, and Facebook page.
It is suggested that viewers start downtown, at Victoria Row, where Montreal artist Chris Lloyd, known for writing the Prime Minister every day for the past 15 years, will be holding a day long filibuster performance. Ann Thurlow will be hosting a booth than engages visitors with the networks of local culture, and Receiver Coffee hosts an installation until 7 pm. The Confederation Centre of the Arts plaza always features a number of projects, alongside a Fine Art and Craft Market. Local artist Carina Phillips will be presenting on the plaza from 6 to 7:30 pm, Hela Cooper and Hannah Levin of Halifax are presenting an interactive piece near the entrance to the Art Gallery. In the library, Kevin Melanson and Olivia Venini are presenting an installation of drawings.
Montreal artist Karen Tam is presenting an installation in a storefront at the corner of Kent and Great George Streets, and Rochford Square hosts projects by the PEI Architects Association and local artist team Josh + Jenni. There will be an installation by Halifax artist Lou Sheppard at the Kirk of St. James.
Take a look at Robert Harris’s turn-of-the-century religious murals in the chapel of St. Peter’s Anglican Church.
As dusk approaches (roughly 7:30 pm), one of the highlights of the festival, the March of the Crows, gathers near the Schurman Family Studio (near the outdoor amphitheatre of the Confederation Centre) and marches through Victoria Row, leaving at 7:45 pm. The parade proceeds through the downtown, awakening and disturbing the city, passing through Rochford Square on the way to Victoria Park, where its dramatic entrance coincides with the sounds of the Heartbeat of Epetwitk, an all-female Mi’kmaq drumming and singing group positioned near the Victoria Park sign opposite Fort Edward. Another parade will also appear in the city, led by Halifax artist Jessica Winton, and featuring members of the community.
Many performances during Art in the Open will pop up in unexpected places, and at unpredictable times, including those by Winnipeg artist Stacey Cann, and Halifax artist Becka Barker (collaborating with an artist in Singapore, Gerard Choy). Winnipeg artist Divya Mehra is organizing a cricket match (as a performance) in collaboration Dean Baldwin, who will provide refreshments. Check Facebook for further details.
On the trail to Victoria Park, you can find several projects around Government Pond and Beaconsfield, and near the entrance to the park like an installation by local artist Norma Jean MacLean. As dusk falls, a field of 21 fires will be lit on Victoria Park’s front field, where you can also locate the festival’s main information booth.
After checking out Marc Losier’s piece at the new cultural pavilion, and Gerald Beaulieu’s sculpture on the park roadway, head into Victoria Park woods, along illuminated paths, where 8 more projects can be found.
Art in the Open is meant to include the unexpected, and for this reason organizers don’t generally post signage indicating the placement of artworks.