Behind the scenes parts

By Jayleen Wilke, Production Assistant

One of the many great things about being an intern for The Works is being directly exposed to the amazing community Edmonton has. During these past months I’ve seen so much of Edmonton I’ve never seen before, or been to before, even though I was born and raised here. The biggest reason for this is because of the giant installation called Canopy by Jose Luis Torres, which you can find in the middle of Churchill square right now.          

Prior to the festival, the production team was running around picking up recycled materials to be a part of the massive sculpture. One of these stops was to the Canadian Bumper Recycling warehouse, where they collect damaged bumpers from collision repair shops. There were a lot of bumpers. Bumpers compressed into big square bales waiting to be shipped away and melted, ready to become something new again. But what really stuck with me was when the owner mentioned that they were just breaking even as a business but diverting thousands of plastic waste from landfills annually.

My whole Works experience so far has been filled with meeting amazing people who do amazing things, which makes my heart happy, and hopefully the Festival can do the same for you! Make sure you check out Canopy, Jose’s sculpture, and see how many bumpers you can find!


Jayleen Wilke is a multi-discipline artist and designer from Edmonton, Alberta. She recently completed her 3rd year of a Bachelor of Design specializing in Industrial Design at the University of Alberta. Her design work focuses on the handcrafted, while her paintings depict landscapes she’s visited; connecting places in nature with people.

Jayleen was awarded top of the class awards in Art 10, Art 20, and Art 35 from St. Joseph High School (2011-2013). She participated in The Whyte Avenue Art Walk for the past two years as well as having work in the Pop Pop Shop (2015), hosted by the SDA from the University of Alberta.

Eating well at the Works

By Jenny Erb, Production Assistant

As a Works Intern I love the art filling the Works Art and Design Festival, but there is more to our festival than just art. There’s food. One of the highlights of every summer event.

Now if you’re like me and try to keep a healthy diet, don’t stress, there are so many ways to get a full balanced meal from The Works Festival food venders. For a start, add some lettuce and tomato to your burger or pick up a salad at Soner Donair with your donair. Check out the fruit stand for an easy healthy snack. And if you are looking for a healthier meal choice try a Crepe or a fresh wrap at Lemon Grass. There are also many vegetarian and vegan options around, including at Curry N Hurry, or Panda Hut. We can’t forget dessert, there are lots of great choices including bubble tea, sweet crepes, ice cream, and fruit. You’ll love the chocolate covered bananas at the ice cream stand (vegan and gluten free).

Of course you don’t have to be healthy all the time. Deep fried foods call all of our names at festivals. One of my favourite guilty pleasures is the deep fried Oreos. So here are some easy tips for eating your fill of fried foods:

Share: Most likely you’re checking out the festival with some friends or family. So if there are a couple of things you want to try, share some plates. If you aren’t here with friends, tell yourself that you are saving half the food for later. Even though we both know you’ll eat it all at once, it’s the thought that counts.

Add fruit to your meal: Apples are a great choice for settling your stomach if you aren’t used to fried foods, pick some up at the fruit stand for your dessert. Another great stomach settler is grape juice, so head to the beer garden and get the red wine flowing, it’s almost the same thing.

Stay hydrated: The best thing you can do to stay feeling great is drink lots of water. If you’re looking for something flavoured try a Gatorade instead of a pop. We wish it did, but beer does not count as water, so keep a 2:1 water:beer ratio if you’re drinking.

Keep coming back throughout the day: Take some time between foods and snack throughout the day. This will give you time to do some walking and burn off those extra calories. Try a longer tour for some exercise filled with incredible art, or do some high energy dancing while enjoying the live bands.

Cheers, see you in the beer garden after the walking tours.


Jenny Erb is an emerging new media and sculpture artist from Windsor Ont. She is currently studying entertainment technology at St. Clair College Windsor, after studying for two years at the Beal Art program in London, Ont.

Jenny’s artwork focuses on the interaction between light and movement. She uses technology to collaborate with musicians and integrated media artists, and has participated in group art exhibits in London, Stratford and Toronto.

Inside the Cabinet of Queeriosities

by Julia Castrogiovanni, Production Assistant

As a production intern at The Works Art and Design Festival, I am intimately involved in the process of bringing art to the public. For this reason, the question of what art is able to be displayed in a public sphere and why is of particular interest to me. Deciding whether or not a piece is “good” is a nearly impossible task since art is so subjective. However, the tendency of comparing “art” to “craft” may provide some insight into the distinction of how images function within the context of visual culture. First of all, the differentiation of art and craft has a lot to do with the creator, viewer and critic who feel compelled to label such works. It can be argued that the line between art and craft is very fluid, as Ronnie Watt states: “when a crafted work loses its everydayness to become something extraordinary in our perception of what it is and can represent outside of its physical form, it can assume the properties of being art.”

With this in mind, this year’s exhibit entitled “Cabinet of Queeriosities” (a multi-artist show curated by Leila Armstrong) located on Churchill Square does an outstanding job of show-casing the blurring of art and craft to bring us something extraordinary. The effective use of traditional materials, such as textile, wood and ceramic in combination with the content of the show is visually stunning, but also prompts important conversations between the art and viewer. “Cabinet of Queeriosities” is an attraction not to be missed.


Julia Castrogiovanni is a visual artist from London, ON, whose practice encompasses drawing, painting, print-making, ceramics and fibre art. She is specifically interested in exploring feminist issues through the use of traditional media and presenting it in a contemporary context. She is a two-time Imadon Chalk Festival winner (2009, 2011). In 2014, she designed and installed a permanent exhibition at Longwoods Conservation Area in Mt. Brydges, Ontario.

2016 is a Year for Design and Experimentation

by Fren Mah, Design Intern

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This year we revamped the festival guide and gave it a fresh layout and new look. The primary goal behind this year’s festival guide is creating a more user friendly and engaging guide for 2016. Designing a festival guide is not easy because of the large number of exhibition sites and partner galleries that are included in each year’s festival, in addition to images, text and print advertisements. Despite the challenges, I think that we successfully met our goals.

Instead of using four columns as we had in previous years, the 2016 guide includes five columns for a more clear reading. In addition, we chose to top align all of the images of the artwork for a cleaner and contemporary gallery aesthetic. The gallery style is more aesthetically pleasing and I hope that the spreads feel more welcoming to our readers than ever before.

As a way of encouraging The Work’s patrons to visit all of the 29 festival sites throughout downtown, we included a new user friendly map. The map is supplemented by a checklist of exhibitions to be sure you catch all the festival sites.

To get your copy visit:

http://www.theworks.ab.ca/festival-exhibits/

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Fren Mah is an emerging artist and designer from Edmonton, AB. Fren believes that Art and design should inspire transformation and understanding of the modern society. He is interested in creating dialogue and questioning environmental, political and socio-economic issues in the world. Another passion of Mah’s is science and the natural world. He often gathers inspiration from nature, and combines it with urban themes and modernity.

Fren is currently interested in working in printmaking, painting, and graphic design.  To view more of his work, please visit www.frenmah.com

Ceci n’est pas une fable de Lafontaine

par: Patricia Roy-Michaud, Assistante à la production

Lorsque nous visitons une exposition, nous adoptons inconsciemment un parcours et un rythme qui n’appartiennent qu’à nous. Certains s’avancerons vers les œuvres pour mieux reculer, faire un pas sur le côté, réfléchir un moment, plus s’avancer à nouveau pour lire démarche artistique. D’autres zigzagueront d’un pas flâneur aux travers des œuvres s’arrêtant un cours instant pour mieux repartir.

Dans les années 1980, les chercheurs Véron et Levasseur observent le comportement des visiteurs lors de l’exposition photographique « Les vacances en France » au Centre Pompidou. De leur recherche, ils retiennent quatre types de visites que j’expose brièvement ici.

La fourmi : Celle-ci prend son temps et s’évertue à visiter l’ensemble de l’exposition. Elle a tendance à longer les murs effectuant de nombreux arrêts.

Le papillon : Il sait ce qu’il est venu chercher et va zigzaguer d’un mur à l’autre afin de combler ses attentes. Son parcours est assez long et parsemé d’arrêts.

La sauterelle : Elle passe généralement peu de temps dans une exposition et s’y aventure en s’arrêtant uniquement devant ce qui attire son attention.

Le poisson : Celui-ci s’arrête peu voire jamais. Il avance dans l’exposition regardant de loin les œuvres sans s’intéresser aux détails. Généralement, le poisson circule au centre de la pièce ignorant les limites de l’exposition.

Que vous soyez fourmi, papillon, sauterelle ou poisson, je vous invite à venir visiter les nombreuses expositions gratuites qu’offre The Work Art and Design Festival.

Patricia Roy-Michaud est une étudiante à la maîtrise en muséologie à l’Université de Montréal depuis septembre 2015. Précédemment, cette jeune québécoise a complété un baccalauréat en archéologie à l’Université Laval à Québec. Au cours de son parcours académiques, elle a eut l’occasion de participer à des fouilles archéologiques au Québec et en France. En 2014, elle a réalisé un semestre à Lyon où elle a pu approfondir ses connaissances en études classiques et en épigraphie. En intégrant la maîtrise en muséologie, Patricia souhaite promouvoir le patrimoine culturel auprès de la population.

Patricia Roy-Michaud is a master’s student in museology at the University of Montreal. Originally from Quebec city, Patricia completed a bachelors degree in archeology at Laval University in 2015. She has participated in numerous archaeological excavations in Quebec city and in France. In the winter of 2014, she completed a semester in Lyon where she deepened her knowledge of classical studies and epigraphy.

Avid globetrotter, Patricia enjoys travelling and learning new cultures. After her studies, she intends to promote cultural heritage with the integration of new technologies.

Artsneak in Action

by Susan Winters, Volunteer Coordinator

As part of The Works volunteer recruitment effort, the team set up a table at Night Market Edmonton this past Friday and the event was a huge success. We managed to rope in quite a few volunteers.

However, the highlight of the evening was when a young man stumbled up to one of our posters and read it aloud (a little cockeyed):

“Artsneak…  to disguise art in everyday experiences. Two. When a performance artist is hidden in a crowd.”

Taking advantage of the moment to tell him about the festival and our volunteer opportunities, I handed him a handbill with our volunteer information thinking the subject had evolved.

“I am a graffiti artist,” He said.

“Perfect, one of the exhibits this year involves a graffiti free-wall. You should come and see it,” I said.

“Let me show you. What’s your name?”

“I’m Susan,” I said. He pulled out a pen and wrote my name in his cultivated graffiti script on the bottom left corner of the handbill.  

“You can keep it,” He said, offering me the handbill I just gave him.

“Very nice,” I told him.

“Yea, how’s that for an artsneak!” He laughed off into the night before I had a chance to retort.

Artsneak in the form of a marked handbill returned to me. Yes, good artsneak, friend. I hope to see you this festival.


Susan Winters, born in Dauphin, Manitoba, is a screenwriter, poet, and recent graduate from the University of Victoria.

In 2014 Susan won Best Screenplay through the Reel Shorts Film Festival with the script, Little Thailand, which she directed the following year. Her poetry has appeared in publications including, This Side of West (2016) and Canthius (2015). She placed second in (parenthetical)’s Blodwyn Memorial Prize and two of her poems were shortlisted for PRISM international’s Poetry Contest (2016).

Special Events: A Sneak Peak

by Marina Bryan, Marketing Assistant

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Photo Credit: The Works Instagram @theworksfest, Roving Reception at City Hall 2014

I like to think of the special events at The Works as the bonus feature. In a recent conversation in the office, we discussed how this festival is pulled together mostly in just a couple of months, and when the festival finally comes to life it deserves a celebration. Of course, we want to share our excitement and celebrate with everyone who comes to the festival!

A lot of this excitement comes from our ability to finally show off the art that we have come to know so well, and The Works gives a unique opportunity to connect with art, artists, and our local community. The art and exhibits are free to explore on your own, but beyond that The Works offers a chance to try something new, start a discussion, and expand your perspective.

My job is to know everything that is going on and share it with the world so that everyone gets the best experience possible. With that in mind, here is a preview of what not to miss this year:


Workshops:

Exploring the exhibits and art is an inspiring experience, and for me, sparks ideas that I want to form into my own pieces. Even if you have no idea how to do that, workshops throughout the 13 days may help.

Every day from 11 to 2, fibre artists will give demonstrations on knitting, photorealistic cross stitching, felting, and more. Graffiti is Dialogue is another daily event that lets you participate in the creation of a graffiti wall as well as learning more about graffiti techniques and culture from an artist on site.

SNAP (The Society of Northern Alberta Printmakers) will be conducting hands on demos and workshops on screen-printing where you will be able to take home your own work.

Walk with The Works:

You can always take your guide and map and go on your own artistic adventure downtown, but for more information and insight, our enthusiastic volunteer tour guides lead tours every day at 2, 4, and 6 pm. Custom tours can also be booked for any groups that would like a private and personalized tour.

124th Street Gallery Walk:

The 124th Street Gallery Walk steps outside of the festival venues to showcase some of Edmonton’s best galleries. This coincides with The 124th Street Grand Market, so it makes for a great summer evening plan.

Roving Reception:

A special guided tour starts off with refreshments and discussion at The Winspear, then continues on to City Hall for an artist talk with the curator from That’s Not What I See:Narrating Identities. The reception then goes back through Churchill Square, finishing off with a drink in the patio.

These are just a sample of the many opportunities make connections with art and Edmonton’s artistic community, and redefine art for yourself! The full list and calendar of activities can be found in the guide or at http://www.theworks.ab.ca/special-events/


Marina Bryan is a student at the University of Alberta. She is in the process of completing a Bachelor of Commerce in the Cooperative Education program and is working towards combining her creative passions with a major in Marketing and a minor in Art and Design.  

As an artist she has experimented with painting, printmaking, and silversmithing. Her work often focuses on how the emotions of abandonment and loneliness are associated with objects that have been lost or left behind.

Talking about art

by Sharlene Engel, Marketing Assistant

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One of the things I’ve learnt over the past weeks is that anyone can engage with visual art.  It’s not something for a select few or something you have to have certain jargon to understand.  Anyone is qualified to look at art and just start asking questions about it: how does it make me feel?  What do I like about it?  Why did the artist make it that way?  The words we use to talk about art are universal, and art can express things words cannot.  Art can create connections between people and ideas and can create space for new dialogues and conversations.

As a communications student, this fascinates and intrigues me.  What is it about art that speaks to us in this way?  How does it achieve this communication?   I don’t know if these questions have right answers.  For me, it’s enough to know that art is more than a painting or sculpture.  It’s something handmade with care and precision, something that contains a heart and soul of its own, something that can change a perspective or grow a new idea.  Art can inspire and entertain, it can challenge and connect.  It creates a unique experience simply by being.

With the festival coming in the near future, I can’t wait to see the thousands of different reactions to the exhibits and to participate in conversations about the thousands of different meanings.  I can’t wait to be presented with that opportunity every day of the festival and to help others share in the experience of art.  


Sharlene Engel is a writer from St. Albert, AB.  She studies communication at MacEwan University, where she will graduate in April of 2017.  Her words explore the values and ideas that transcend culture and our reciprocal obligation to acknowledge our common humanity. 

Sharlene works as an editor at MacEwan’s Earth Common Journal to advocate for sustainability, conservation, and climate change. This is her first year with The Works Art & Design Festival, where she can connect many different faucets of her skills, values, and beliefs.

A Note on Food and Giving

by Susan Winters, Volunteer Coordinator

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 photo from: www.thatscoop.com


This past weekend, my family and I sampled the edible delights of Indian Fusion, an Indian-Fijian restaurant located in the calm outskirts of downtown Edmonton. It’s an establishment that puts thought into every aspect of your meal. The dining room is small, yet seats several large families comfortably. The modest space also allows for Parkash or Chanchal’s warm greeting from behind the bar as you walk in. Subtle curiosities nestle in every corner and your eye has a surprising place to land all the time it wanders. My favorite items were the ornamental porcelain knobs adorning the tops of each chair.

           The food was amazing. The spice level (offered to us on a scale of one-to-five) matched our semi-adventurous expectations. The butter chicken stood out for hearty chicken, noticeable fresh tomato flavor and creaminess. Baby okra in the Bhindi Masala was cooked to the best of soft and firm. I could go on.

 There are two special reasons why Indian Fusion has found its way into The Works to Work blog:

 1.      Parkash’s dedication to his community ought not to be forgotten.

You might know Indian Fusion as “the restaurant that gives food to people who are down on their luck.” It’s true. On the back door of Indian Fusion, the sign reads, “Dear friends, if you are hungry and have no money to pay, just ring the bell below or come in for a free meal box/coffee anytime.”

I know many local businesses that rally for community, but Parkash’s message is especially powerful. The simple gesture of giving food blows away the dust. It is a direct connection that exceeds politics – the awful red tape of giving. 

2.      Indian Fusion is a sponsor for The Works volunteers!

At The Works, we depend on many local businesses to energize, recognize and appreciate our volunteers. I am humbled by this generosity. Gathering donations, I’m reminded that behind good businesses are good, motivated people and I can’t wait to see our volunteers devouring an Indian Fusion meal.




Susan Winters, born in Dauphin, Manitoba, is a screenwriter, poet, and recent graduate from the University of Victoria.

In 2014 Susan won Best Screenplay through the Reel Shorts Film Festival with the script, Little Thailand, which she directed the following year. Her poetry has appeared in publications including,This Side of West (2016) and Canthius (2015). She placed second in (parenthetical)’s Blodwyn Memorial Prize and two of her poems were shortlisted for PRISM international’s Poetry Contest (2016). 

My Works Family

By: Cheyenne LeGrande, Curatorial Intern

My experience at The Works has been very fulfilling so far.

I have learnt so much in such a small period of time. As we get closer to festival I am getting really excited to see the festival up and running. I am so thankful to be a part of The Works family. 

When I started I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that I would meet so many awesome people and be able to grow and learn together as a group. We have had a couple installs already, and they have been going really well. It’s an incredible experience to arrive in an empty space and after a hard day of work, have the pleasure to see it transformed into the end product. Art has the ability to give spaces life. 

Through my experience at The Works I have already grown and learned so much from the connections I have been able to make.  Art and Connection is what The Works brought into my life, and I am truly thankful for this experience.



Cheyenne Rain LeGrande is an emerging young female indigenous Artist. She is interested in exploring the connection between her culture and her identity. Cheyenne’s creativity comes from the depth of her experience as a “Nehiyaw”(Cree) artist. With these influences, she strives to add a contemporary element to each piece. 

Cheyenne attended MacEwan University and completed her Fine Art Diploma in 2016. She will be entering her third year of studies at Emily Carr this fall. Cheyenne‘s work was included in the juried Grad show called “Artline”. She was also commissioned to do a painting for the Aboriginal Education Centre at MacEwan University. Cheyenne is very inspired by the indigenous way of being and knowing and looks forward to explore “Nisosihchikan” ( her creativity).

all the volunteers

By: Becca Stephens, Volunteer Assistant

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The Works Art & Design Festival Facebook page, July 1, 2015 


At the start of this internship I had no idea what to expect.  What does “volunteer coordinator” entail? How many volunteers are there? Wait, am I recruiting ALL of the 130+ volunteers??! 

I was excited and more than a little nervous. I discovered about a week in, that the excitement and joy didn’t quite extend to all areas of my job. As an energetic and hands on person, I had little patience for filling in spread sheets, typing up emails and signing paperwork. But as soon we started interviewing volunteers, I knew I had the right job. 

There were people who had been volunteering with this festival longer than I’d been alive. No joke. There were young high school and junior high students who were excited and passionate about getting involved with the arts and the community. I met people who volunteer every single weekend. There is a single mom who works full time, is a mom full time and volunteers (and brings her kids with her) on her weekends and days off. I met an older gentleman who has been volunteering with us for over 20 years and many volunteers who volunteer for all sorts of other places as well.

Just the answers to the simple question “Do you have any previous volunteer experience?” always amaze me. The kind of people who are willing to give their time, effort and passion to a volunteer experience are beautiful and kind people. These are the kind of people I want to spend my time with and learn from. 

You too can sign up to volunteer at The Works, we’d love to have you!  http://www.theworks.ab.ca/volunteer/



Rebecca (Bexx) Stephens is an art student from the southern United States. She is currently studying at the University of Alberta, working towards a BFA in painting and printmaking. She will graduate in 2019 and then intends to pursue a BEd. Her art currently focuses on themes in nature and the environmental impacts of humans. In 2015 she completed her I.B. Art Diploma and was honoured to have a painting shown in The Works as part of the ‘Best of Edmonton Public Schools’ show. Becca was also awarded the Bob Maskel “Supporting Dreams” Scholarship.  

Aside from art, she spends her spare time reading, listening to music, swimming and long boarding.

2016 is in full swing at The Works

By: B.J. McCarville, Education Facilitator

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June is here and with it all the anticipation and bustle of another approaching Works Art & Design Festival!

A new crop of Works to Work interns have sprung into action and they will be bringing us candid glimpses of life in the field as they go. Stay tuned to our blog for regular entries, now through festival (June 23-July 5, 2016), sharing first person perspectives on the incredible intern experience of putting together North America’s largest free outdoor visual arts festival!



Betty-Jo (B.J.) McCarville is an artist and educator from Charlottetown, PEI. Her artistic practice includes oil painting, performance, storytelling and installation. B.J. teaches art education at the University of PEI and has also directed education programs at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. In 2012 and 2014 she was awarded PEI council for the arts creation grants for Emerging artists. Her work is included in the Charlottetown “Art in the City” collection as well as the Colart Collection of emerging Canadian artists in Montreal.

Stepping into the Working World

Dalaine Wall, Design Assistant

As a student I initially felt unqualified and nervous about stepping out of post-secondary and into a “real life” situation. But the urge to prove myself pushed past these feelings of apprehension and I applied to the Works to Work Internship. Thus far The Works internship program has delivered on its promise of: mentorship, continuous learning, and relevant experience. 

They have perfected the balance of guided and self-directed work, giving me the space to grow as a person and a designer. Through this my confidence has grown and I have become more willing to take chances and make mistakes. 

Completing design work in a real life situation is dramatically different compared to a school situation. Each project is still educational, stressful, and rewarding. However it feels different, the key reason for this is teamwork.  The workflow is different as everyone has a symbiotic relationship to each other. 

As the design intern I gain information and projects from multiple departments. This is really exciting as it provides me with insights into each area. This insight is a privilege and a rare opportunity as I get to understand how each department supports each other. Which I believe is easy to lose sight of when you are not directly working with another department.

"Making Space”: The Works Canadian Aboriginal Artist Program

Natalie Castrogiovanni, Exhibit Technology & Production Assistant

As a visual art student two years into my BFA, I have come to see what an art education looks like in a university setting. Among many learning curves, I have internalized the compulsion and necessity of working with a theme in one’s work. A concept or theme is a point of reference from which ideas stem and through which creativity can flow. The Works Art and Design Festival selects a theme to work with each year, and this summer the theme is “Making Space." 

It is a particularly fitting one, because the Works as an organization that embodies this concept. The Works has carved out a place for itself and for Art and Design in Alberta’s capital city and sustained this for 30 years. Through projects, programs and events, The Works promotes and protects the artistic community. Amid its programs, and crucial to its 2015 theme is The Works Canadian Aboriginal Artist Program. The program invites established, up-and-coming and renowned Aboriginal artists Canada-wide to showcase their work and speak to issues and themes affecting all Canadians, but especially important to the Aboriginal community. 

The Works Art and Design Festival falls on National Aboriginal Day, giving it the elevated responsibility of making space for  the voices of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Creating space for marginalized and silenced voices is deeply ingrained in the visual arts, and the most powerful works arise from these potent voices, especially when they hold the key to the history and visual culture of our young country.  

To learn more about Festival programming, check out the Festival Guide.

How a Festival is MADE

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Matthew Carr, Production Assistant

“Waste Not, Want Not” is an idiom tailored to suit the MADE Furniture Design Competition that takes place every year during The Works Art and Design Festival in Downtown Edmonton. Within a day the participants manage to create inventive and beautiful furniture pieces with discarded and misshapen scraps of wood. This day of hard, creative work captures the spirit of what it takes to put on the festival—behind-the-scenes.   

My short time as a Production Intern with The Works Art and Design Festival has shown me the perseverance and dedication required to put on a festival of this scale and duration while also ensuring the festival is FREE to all who want to attend. Every year the employees and volunteers for The Works make something from the ground up, creating a spectacle on Churchill Square all while facing the difficulties of being an admission free event and therefore operating on a tight budget.  

Like the roughly hewn pieces of wood in the MADE Furniture Design competition, the benefits of corporate sponsorship, attendant donations, government grants and long hours of work come together and are put to good use to form an annually changing festival which continues to entertain and expand the minds of its visitors every year.

If you want to get into the spirit of The Works Art and Design Festival be sure to come down to Churchill Square to check out the MADE  Furniture Design Competition happening this Saturday June 27 from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M..

Check out our Festival Guide to learn more about what’s happening on the Square this weekend!

A Lucky Pile of Dirt Becomes Art at The Works

Tegan Bowers, Exhibit Production & Technology Assistant

About seven weeks ago, The Works received a massive pile of dirt. Why would a non-profit arts society need a pile of dirt, you ask? The answer is relatively simple. The artist Suzanna Barlow is completing an exhibit that requires the black gold, as well as potatoes, sunlight, water, and some tender loving care. 

Over the course of the last month and a half, the Production Team’s everyday tasks included shovelling the dirt, moving the dirt, sitting on the dirt, and putting the dirt on the potatoes growing in our yard. That pile of dirt was quite the sight. It sat there like an unassuming lump covered in tarps, until it was uncovered, revealing its filthy beauty. We may have griped and moaned about having to shuffle it around for 5 hours straight, but in the end, this pile of dirt contributed to a great piece of art that will continue to harbour life throughout the Festival. We love you, pile of dirt.

Now on display on Churchill Square, Barlow’s “The Potato Project” is comprised of a series of large potato planters coupled with oversized potato-like beanbag chairs for lounging. See for yourself how a pile of dirt can become a piece of art by visiting The Works Art and Design Festival on Churchill Square (June19 - July 1!)

The Potato Project by Susanna Barlow: In the 50’s through 70’s in Edmonton, it was common practice for homeowners to plant potatoes in a new front lawn. This infused the soil with nutrients for plants to grow in the years ahead. As the front lawn of Edmonton, Churchill Square is the perfect place to collectively nurture some symbolic spuds to prepare for the current and upcoming growth in the culture and infrastructure of Alberta’s Capital city. 

Check out the Festival Guide for more info!

Tales of an Intrepid Intern!

Evan Terlesky, Exhibit Production & Technology Assistant

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Sketches from The Works Media Launch, Evan Terlesky

My muscles ache in strange places, there are paints of every pigment all over my work pants and my steel toes are proudly scuffed and scarred – yup, it must be festival season in Edmonton!

My name is Evan Terlesky (native to Edmonton), and this year marks a change in my Edmonton Festival Education, as I’m a Production Assistant for The Works Festival. I’m one of the many interns that has been busily preparing for 13 days of incredible, FREE art and design!!! The past weeks have zoomed by, with busy days full of refreshing and maintaining site equipment, organizing to restocking supplies, distributing program guides and postering the city!

As a 2015 graduate of MacEwan University’s Fine Art Diploma, I’ve really enjoyed talking with local artists involved in the festival. It fills me with an eagerness to plunge into my own practice when I’m discussing what’s motivating or inspiring to local artists as they drop their works off for us to catalogue, wrap, transport and then hang. It is a great responsibility and as a fellow artist, can be very nerve-racking; especially when moving a priceless carved statue, or enormous 10ft by 6 ft canvas.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful team of Production Assistants that not help with the heavy lifting, but more importantly, keep me laughing and seeing the bigger picture. We’re all incredibly excited to showcase stunning local, national and international artists and hope that you’ll join us at Edmonton’s The Works Festival, starting June 19th 2015 at Sir Winston Churchill Square!!!!

Check out the Festival Guide here.

For the Love of Art: Greg Swain’s Lasting Legacy at The Works

Kasie Cambpell, Production Coordinator

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El Hombre Esqueleto, Greg Swain & Friends at Unit B (10187 104 St). 

As the Exhibit Production & Technology Coordinator, I feel lucky to be a part of the community that is created through The Works: the artists, my co-workers and all those in the surrounding neighbourhood—all collaborating to celebrate art & design in Edmonton for 13 full days! Spending a summer working alongside a group of artists/designer interns has proven to make each day more artful than the last. I am thankful for this internship and the opportunity to spend my days with people who share the same love of art.

One of my favourite experiences as an intern so far has been when we picked up Greg Swain’s artwork. Greg Swain passed away last year. His sister Mona Lahaie had collected all of his studies, paintings, and drawings from his studio and catalogued every last one. Piles upon piles of paintings could be found throughout the loft and adorning the walls. I feel more than honoured to have had a glimpse into the life of the artist Greg Swain as he partakes in The Works Festival one more time. 

There will an an exhibition at Unit B (10187 104 St, McKenny Building) in Greg’s honour. Check out the Roving Reception on June 30th at 7 pm - 9 pm. 

The show, El Hombre Esqueleto, will feature over 40 of Greg’s works spanning 50 years including a collaboration of his art from private collections. In addition, over 20 local artisans were invited to contribute a piece that in some way relates to the man who influenced and inspired them. More here.

The Nature of Things: “Making Space” at The Works

Agata Garbowska, Curatorial Assistant

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As the Curatorial Assistant with The Works Art & Design Festival, I have had the opportunity to read the proposals and statements of various artists exhibiting during the 2015 festival. While reading statements written by exhibiting artists, I noticed that several artists are addressing the theme, “Making Space,” by creating work that references the landscape. For example, both Lynette de Montreuil and Paddy Lamb are in some ways using material found in the landscape to address the theme “Making Space.”

As one of The Works’ artist-in-residence on Churchill Square during the Festival, Lynette de Montreuil will use organic material from the Edmonton landscape to create an architectural element on site. Titled Cradle to Cradle, the piece will begin to degrade during the Festival and, as de Montreuil writes in her proposal, “showcase the fleeting nature of all things.” De Montreuil elaborates that in allowing the organic material to decay, the artist is giving the material agency. De Montreuil will be building Cradle to Cradle over the first few days of the Festival, but those who want to see more of her work before festival begins should visit her website: http://lynettedemontreuil.ca/

Paddy Lamb will be exhibiting work in City Hall in a show titled New Requiem for the Field. Recently, Lamb has been examining an abandoned quarter section of farmland east of Edmonton. The artist has been collecting source material from the site and bringing the material from the site into the studio. To quote Lamb’s artist statement: “by inhabiting this space; documenting, dismantling and reusing discarded objects and machinery, [the artist] is trying to build a picture of a particular place and the shifting balance between man and nature within a specific environment.” Those interested in seeing more of Paddy’s work before the Festival can visit his website: http://paddylamb.com/

To preview more of the art that will be showcased at The Works Art & Design Festival in its 30th year, and to explore how other artists address the theme “Making Space,” download the Festival Guide at http://www.theworks.ab.ca/.

How to Make Sidewalk Chalk! (and why you should volunteer at The Works)

To kick off our blog this Festival Season, we asked our Volunteer Department one simple question: What is the best part of your job at The Works?

Carly Ball, Volunteer Assistant: 

An exciting aspect about working in the volunteer department is that you get to plan two parties for volunteers: a recruitment party AND an appreciation party! At the beginning of June, we held The Works Festival’s Volunteer Recruitment Party with the theme - Sidewalk Chalk! In honour of The Works 30th year we collaborated with the party goers to find 30 different ways to use chalk. Some different ideas included chalk bombs, squeeze chalk, chalk rake, spray chalk, frozen chalk, stencils and good old hopscotch.

Did you know you can make your own sidewalk chalk?

Toilet paper tubes                          

 ¾ cup warm waterDuct tape                                          

1 ½ cups Plaster of Paris

Waxed Paper                                     

2-3 tablespoons of tempura paint 

Line your paper tubes with wax paper and tape off one end. Combine your water, Plaster of Paris and paint. Pour liquid mixture into tubes and let dry for two days or until plaster is dry. Voila… you’ve made your very own sidewalk chalk!

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Dana McLean, Volunteer Coordinator:

The first couple of months of the internship have come and gone so quickly that I haven’t even had time to think of something clever to say about all of this. BUT despite how fast time has passed and how quickly festival is upon us, it is a sure sign that this is a fun place to be. Working in the office and being around everyone has been wonderful, and such a great learning experience. Now I can’t even wait to meet all the lovely volunteers who have signed up to help out at festival this year. I am always amazed at how many people will give their free time up for festivals, it shows how much people support their community and take an interest in arts and design. I am looking forward to being on the square with everyone and being around so many amazing things!

So everyone should come hang out with us, volunteer a few hours of your time and come be part of something amazing!

It’s never too late: Sign up to volunteer today! http://www.theworks.ab.ca/volunteer/