This Art Thing
One of my favourite memories about Edmonton has to be The Works Art & Design Festival. I'm from Boston originally, so when I came to Red Deer years ago, they said, "Oh yeah, there's this thing, this art thing, you might want to go to." A friend of ours was the artistic director at that time, and he said, "Yeah, come on up. I'll show you around. Here's the paper. It's got all these different sites to go to." I remember thinking that it was very cool for a city to allow an arts organization to come in and use spaces in their empty buildings or empty lots or empty office buildings or whatever. To allow international and local artists into these spaces and really have it be an educational thing. I was truly impressed with that.
I'd never seen that done anywhere else. This is kind of a cool thing, and for the city to open up and to say, "This is what we're doing. Come see all these things we have planned for you." And it's all free. You didn't have to go buy a $30 button to wear to get in. It was totally open. I thought, "Wow, they really care about their citizens here."
You know, I just think The Works is fantastic. They have a core group of people, but it's run by volunteers who commit themselves year after year. Like this year, Brian and I happened to have a booth with the Alberta Potters' Association. There's a girl who comes in from PEI every year, just to do The Works. She was here last year. Actually, she ended up coming to my birthday party. Anyway, I feel that Edmonton has a really good art community, and we respond to that.
And maybe I'm a little biased, but we have the best craft council too, located right here in Edmonton. The Alberta Craft Council, I would say, is the best craft gallery in Alberta, and perhaps even in the West. And they're actually going to be putting on a big show about Immense Mode, when we're done building it. Yeah, I can't wait for the sculpture to be done. It's going to be such a fun thing to see as you're passing by.
To learn more about Dawn’s favourite festival, check out the video below of The Works Art & Design Festival.
Roger Crait (striped toque) is an expressionist painter from Winnipeg who paints urban aboriginal life and apocalyptic fantasies. Robert Harpin is a talented young artist who graduated MacEwan’s Fine Art program in 2004. His interactive cubicle installation was featured in Louise McKinney Park overlooking the River Valley.
Dawn Detarando is originally from Boston, but she lives in Red Deer now. She and her partner, Brian McArthur, are the artists behind Immense Mode, the sculpture of the big shoes and legs, at the Southgate Transit Centre. Aside from visiting Edmonton for her city fix, Dawn enjoys checking out the heritage neighbourhood of Garneau next to the University of Alberta.