4elements Living Arts announces its first annual Elemental Festival

KAGAWONG—What do the fall colours, the annual salmon run, and installation art have in common? This October 2 to 4, the first annual Elemental Festival will take place in Kagawong.

Presented by 4elements Living Arts (4e), a local interdisciplinary non-profit arts organization, the festival is site-specific and includes multiple forms of contemporary art. This year’s festival will showcase the Kagawong River with the theme ‘Rivers’ anchoring all of the activities and celebrating the river rehabilitation work of Manitoulin Streams.

Internationally renowned artist Michael Belmore’s (Thunder Bay) one-tonne granite sculpture will be installed in the river. Sean Procyk (Toronto) will create a kinetic installation on the river and lead workshops in sound-art.

Other confirmed artists include Ann Marie Hadcock (Wiarton) whose unusual fibre work is sure to delight, and francophone artist Mariana LaFrance (Manitoulin Island) is performing a new work. Pistol George Warren, darlings of the Sudbury music scene, will perform on Saturday night.

In keeping with the multi-arts and community aspect of the Festival, 4e welcomes submissions of prose and creative non-fiction to its Elemental Festival Writing prize. The weekend will be packed with activities for kids and adults including sound and river walks, artist talks, installations by local artists, workshops and a community discussion about water and rivers. Participation in most events is free of charge.

With events like Warkworth’s Sunday Drives Festival selling out, and Sudbury’s profoundly successful UpFest, it’s clear that art communities on the ‘periphery’ have a lot to contribute and are shaking loose outdated mindsets about where contemporary art can happen.

“This is not a festival that could take place anywhere but here; it will respond uniquely to the experience and ecosystem of this particular landscape,” said Sophie Anne Edwards, curator.

Visitors from across the region, from as far as Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay, are expected. With the summer tourism season waning, October is the perfect time to visit Kagawong.

“You’ll have the spectacular view and exquisite fall colours to yourself, while the salmon make their annual run up the Kagawong River to spawn at Bridal Veil Falls,” Ms. Edwards enthused. “Visitors can enjoy a day trip, or take advantage of off-season accommodation prices. With all activities of the weekend, you can come for the weekend but feel like you’ve stayed a whole week.”

4e is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation; grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts have made this first Elemental Festival possible.

To set up an interview with one of the artists, for more information about the writing prize criteria, or to register for workshops contact Patricia Mader, festival co-curator, at patricia@4elementslivingarts.org.