ArtsFest Aims to Carve Itself a New Emphasis

In its 10th year, the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival, has made a few changes intended to give people more to do, as opposed to just looking and buying.

The festival, organized by the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (a division of the Dawson City Arts Society), runs from Aug. 12 to 15, just before the Discovery Day holiday.

It will still be located on the greensward between Front Street and the dyke, but ArtsFest coordinator Geneviève Trudel says the setup will be a bit different.

For one thing, the old market gallery merchandising concept is being replaced by an Arts Fair. Artists will have individual tents for showing off their works and will be assigned volunteers to help them with actual sales of their pieces while they meet people and show them what they are doing.

This year, there is a major emphasis on workshops, with eight of them scheduled from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Individual workshops will have a registration fee which includes the cost of materials.

In two- and three-hour sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to try making antler jewelry with Dennis Shorty, stone carving with Inuk Charlie, basswood carving with Eugene Alfred, making mosaic coasters with Carole d Lagace, nolbinding (Scandinavian looped needle-netting) with Elizabeth Kolb, beading with Dolores Anderson, and pendant carving with Martin Goodliffe.

“It’s something we really wanted to emphasize this year. It seems like a really important part of having an arts festival,” Trudel said. “Two carvers (for the workshops) are coming all the way from Yellowknife and in our Arts Fair we have two carvers coming from the northern Northwest Territories.”

Trudel says the festival has also attempted to diversify itself for its tenth anniversary.

“The range of arts is really, really broad this year, everything from your traditional beadwork, carving and painting, to video installation, shadow puppets and interactive drawing. There’s more social practice space stuff and installation-based projects.

“It presents an across-the-board range of arts practices up here.”

There will be over 30 artists attending from all over the Yukon (Whitehorse, Carcross, Lake Laberge, Mayo, Keno, Dawson) and some from the NWT (Yellowknife, Inuvik and Tsiigehtchic).

Events will commence with the opening of the annual The Natural and the Manufactured exhibit at the ODD Gallery on the evening of Aug. 11, and continue with a gallery-hop including all the display spaces in town that night. The festival itself will begin the next day.

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