Sep. 05, 2012 - Issue #881: Sex 2012
Kaleido Family Arts Festval
The face of Alberta Avenue continues to change. The neighbourhood, which has been labelled with a bad rap in the past, is undergoing a transformation into one of the city's burgeoning arts centres.
Now in its seventh year, the Kaleido Family Arts Festival, made possible by the Arts on the Ave Society, is furthering this revitalization with a surge of creative energy by bringing together artists and art enthusiasts for a weekend of celebration. More than 200 musical, dance and theatrical performances will take over the avenue, not only on the main drag, but also on rooftops, building façades, lamp posts and in alleyways.
Christy Morin founded the festival and Arts on the Ave just over seven years ago, after realizing the concentration of artists in the Alberta Ave area.
"Our goal was to invite, you know, Edmonton really, and area to come out and see where we live and play with us in the disciplines and the arts and how we create," adds Morin, who has lived in the area for 18 years. "I think what was going on was that the community had lost its character and its personality. There were a lot of wonderful people living here, but they weren't together, and I think the arts is an incredible way of bringing people together. They celebrate, they create, they live together and I think the arts is really the soul of this community."
Morin believes Alberta Ave can bring a sense of realness to the arts in Edmonton. Since the area is an affordable one, she says it's able to keep artists in Edmonton and add a richness to the north side of the city in a mature, historic neighbourhood.
The theme for this year's Kaleido Festival is Extravaganza, which seems fitting considering the variety of performances and the sheer scope of the event. Over the course of the weekend, visitors will be able to take in performances from aerialists, the Aurora Lantern Parade and the Friday night kick-off featuring Juno Award-winning indie rockers Said the Whale.
"When we started the festival, we didn't have people performing on rooftops of dancing on sides of buildings, but as we grew, we began to realize that using 118th Ave as our canvas was really important because it's all about the avenue and all about people living around the avenue. It's really the common denominator," Morin notes. "Being able to explore in diverse places and really get creative and edgy was really something we wanted to do, and we found that it really took off. People really enjoyed seeing choirs on rooftops or Shakespeare in back alleys or hip-hop in the park, so we just have listened to people and know that this festival is really for the people, from the people."
Glen Roland recently joined the arts community on Alberta Ave, opening the Glen Roland Gallery four months ago. The space serves as a gallery in addition to a studio space for Roland, who was painting out of his house prior to its opening. Roland lives in Sherwood Park, but despite not living on the avenue, he has found it to be a welcoming community, with people consistently stopping by his studio to chat or try their hand at painting. The Glen Roland Gallery will serve as a space for artists to showcase their work during the Kaleido Festival, and if the weather holds up, Roland says he is considering placing easels on the sidewalk to allow people to flex their creativity.
"There's almost a tighter sense of community there. You kind of get the feeling that a lot of the characters know each other and a lot of the people go to the same spots, like they go to The Carrot and they go to their favourite little restaurant," Roland says of the area, which he feels has a more positive vibe than people often give it credit for. "Now that I've got a studio going it turned into another little hangout spot."
Fri, Sep 7 – Sun, Sep 9
Alberta (118th) Ave
between 90th St & 94th St
Full schedule at artsontheave.org
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