Festival in a Box

Carboard Box

Is nothing happening at your favorite venues? Do you take walks through public parks by yourself and sit down on their benches just because there’s nothing better to do? Why not make the party happen where you are by livening up those desolate parks and distinguish them from the solemn cemeteries across the street? This is exactly what local artist Corie Waugh did this Saturday at Knowles Heritage Park on the corner of Bernard and Ethel. What started out as a course project suddenly grew into something much more ambitious and involved.

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An experiment in the use of public space and community, the event involved what could be described as a portable venue. Unpacked from the back of her vehicle and set up by hand was the shell of a shelter that would soon be transformed into a vibrant hub for all kinds of creativity and talent. What was this foldable haven you may be wondering? It was a cardboard “house” complete with a door and a window. The ceiling consisted of a tarp that was set up during the short hail and rain that befell the party twice that day, and though the weather may have dampened the cardboard it did not dampen the spirits of the attendees.

Cardboard Box 2

The interior walls of the structure were decorated with art pieces submitted by a dozen artists, sound equipment was set up on one side, and a piece of cardboard lying on the grass acted as the stage. When the sun was shining and the hail had ceased the rooftop was simply retracted to create that sensation of being at an open air performance while simultaneously being indoors.

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Performances were all voluntary, put on in a sort of open mic fashion. There were almost a dozen of them ranging across many varied disciplines. A performance art piece put on outside of the box (figuratively and literally) by performance artists Scott Mendonca and Kevin Jesuino (award nominee at the Okanagan Arts Awards being held March 2nd) involved them walking conspicuously around the park while having a conversation over cell phones.  At the end it was revealed to the somewhat bemused onlookers that the performance was in fact a critique on private conversations in public spaces. Acts inside the box (literally, not figuratively) involved many musical and spoken word performances.

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The parks tenebrous silence was lifted with zesty music put on by:

  • Liam Park
  • Jeff Ellum
  • Joshua Theobold
  • Sami Al-Khalili
  • Andrew Edwards
  • Colin Shand

Intoxicating spoken word performed by:

  • Nathan Hare
  • Nygel Metcalfe
  • Minka Wolanski
  • Cherie Hanson

And delicate visual morsels provided by:

  • Jeff Ellum
  • Heather Leier
  • Hanss Lujan
  • Julia Prudhomme
  • Anthony Ross
  • Jena Stillwell
  • Kristoff Steinruk
  • Dean Krawchuk
  • Abbey Cipes
  • Kelsi Barkved
  • Sylvia Miranda
  • Corie Waugh

Corie

The line-up was all local and can be found around town being active in their pursuits at places like the Rotary Center for the Arts and events such as Inspired Word Café (which I intend to cover in the future!).

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If you’re wondering how you missed such an interesting convention it’s because it was not widely advertised except mostly through word of mouth. Hopefully this article will motivate you to get more involved in your local art community or start making some waves yourself. Next time you feel like complaining that “nothing ever happens around here”, just remember to think outside the box!

Cardboard Box 3


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