The Art Marathon Festival Goes Carnival For 2014
In 2008 Eastern Edge Director Michelle Bush and her team had a vision for the gallery’s 24 Hour Art Marathon that would extend festivities into a weeklong event. The Festival aimed to celebrate an array of contemporary forms of visual art., feature projects from artists across the province and country, as well as to showcase a representation of the Gallery’s year-round work.
“The gallery really wanted to make the event spectacular and reflect the many things the gallery does throughout the year.” says current Eastern Edge Executive Director Mary MacDonald, “24 hours was too short a time frame to do this. Combined with financial support from Canadian Heritage, the 24 Hour Art Marathon turned from fundraiser to professional festival (in 2008) and remains the only visual arts festival of its kind in the province.”
This year celebrates the 15th anniversary of the marathon, and it sets to explore the theme of “Carnival.” This marks only the second consecutive year to initiate a core focus and collective theme across all festival related activities.
“Last year, we introduced the theme of Dreamworlds to act as a common thread to tie all the various events of the festival together.” says MacDonald, “For those who don’t know the Art Marathon Festival is super inter-disciplinary, much like contemporary art itself, it has visual art, music, dance, sound, readings, discussions, workshops and more. We wanted to bring our invited artist program and our Marathon artists activity together, perhaps they would reinvent it, be inspired by it, or critique it. It’s also a way for the festival to reinvent itself year after year. We can incorporate new activities, languages, and even audiences with new themes.”
“Last year we had Dreamworlds and this year we’re exploring the chance, spectacle and the uncanny with Carnival!”
An Eastern Edge Members Publication entitled Sweet Tooth will also see its launch amongst the Marathon’s many-hatted revelry.
“Sweet Tooth is a member’s project that we dreamed up for the festival this year. In lieu of traditional merch, t-shirts and tote bags, we wanted something that was made by our members to represent the festival. So why not a small publication?” MacDonald continues, “We liked that it could also involve artist members who might not be in the St. John’s area or could come to the festival. Newfoundland and Labrador is a big place after all. Sweet Tooth, like the Dreamzine last year, is also an interesting annual record of who’s active in the Eastern Edge community right now, and we liked that idea as well.”
Wednesday, August 13th is the day that kicks off the jam-packed five-day stint in which Eastern Edge promises “contemporary art, workshops, performances, talks, music, and 24hrs of live art-making with over 100 local, national and international artists.”
Without a doubt it’s extensive and versatile schedule lends something for interested parties of any age.
Besides just the theme, this years Marathon stands unique to Festivals past with revamped ideas, and a few Festival firsts.
“This year we’ve partnered with Downtown St. John’s for an outdoor video art screening in their Reel Downtown projection space on Water Street.” MacDonald explains, “This is going to have a much bigger impact than previous years where we would project on our own building’s facade. The screening is called Surface Tension and explores the boundaries between objects through a range of approaches to video art.”
Surface Tension will kick off the festival Wednesday August 13th
“This year we have a host of installations, projects, and performances from artists from as far as Baltimore and as close as Portugal Cove Road.” says MacDonald.
“There’s also maybe double the amount of pop up activities for the crawl this year and to cap it off a great musical line up at the Ship with Tim Baker & Adam Hogan, Ouroroboros, Thom and the Tomcats, and the Connexions.”
To keep yourself informed and up to date check out the full 2014 Art Marathon Festival schedule.