The Word is Art: Arts festival and publishing symposium take place in Dawson next weekend

The festival season isn’t over yet in Dawson City. From August 15-18, the 13th Annual Yukon Riverside Arts Festival will take place at various venues around town.

The Festival features workshops, live music, guest lectures, artist talks, exhibitions, special events, public art projects and a gallery hop throughout the downtown core.

Writers will also have a place in Dawson that weekend.

Supported by the Yukon Arts Fund in a collaborative effort with the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC), the Dawson Community Library and Parks Canada, the 2nd annual Dawson Daily News Print and Publishing Symposium will be held simultaneously with the Arts Festival.

The symposium will feature hand cut wood block printing, hand binding, print and printmaking, letterpress printing, and poster making. Workshops will be offered on subjects like writing, alternative printmaking and self-publishing. All these events will take place in the Dawson Daily News heritage building, with permission from Parks Canada.

Dan Dowhal, committee member for the symposium and participating artist, says it’s exciting and creatively stimulating to hold the symposium in an historic building.

“The combination of traditional crafts and printing in a heritage building makes for an interesting vibe,” Dowhal says.

Dowhal will be hosting a workshop on self-publishing using digital media.

“While the spirit (of the event) is using traditional artisanal printing methods, we also want to be modern and contemporary, so digital is included,” he says.

Dowhal, a former Berton House resident, will also be writing a daily blog about the symposium.

Two new events will be added to this year’s symposium.

A historic, late 1800′s Chandler & Price press machine owned by Parks Canada, was mostly restored during last year’s symposium; this year it will be finished and used throughout the weekend with a demonstration of letterpresses.

The second event is a postcard competition. Participants will be asked to write a short story of 150 words or less on a regular sized postcard, using the theme “Up North.”

Dowhal, who is one of three judges for the competition, says even just a few words is acceptable.

“It’s the idea of quality, not quantity,” he says. “And the theme Up North creates a unique Klondike stamp and makes it special.”

The competition is open to all Canadians and the deadline is August 16. The winner of the $250 prize will be announced on Sunday night during the Grand Ole Soapbox event, held at the Palace Grand Theatre.

A kick-off exhibition will be held on Friday, August 16 featuring a kitchen party-style variety of Atlantic print work, hand-printed wallpaper and books by Michael McCormack. There will also be a reading by current writer-in-residence Colleen Murphy.

Throughout the weekend, symposium goers are also invited to participate in open studios, hands-on demonstrations, and discussions on design, print culture, publishing, printmaking and writing.

The 13th Annual Yukon Riverside Arts Festival will take place from August 15-18. The Second Annual Dawson Daily News Print and Publishing Symposium will be held from August 16-18.

For more information on both events, please contact KIAC at 993-5005, or visit their website at

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