It’s time to get the word out.
Another exciting Artsfest begins with the seventh annual Word On The Street, Sunday outside the downtown branch of the Lethbridge Public Library.
Some of the highlights include plenty of authors, live music from Karen Romanchuk, the Bryant Watson Duo, Junkman’s Quire, Beyond Crimson, Dale Ketcheson and Kavanagh and Hepher, food trucks and a lot more.
“There will even be a life-sized ‘Where’s Waldo?’” said festival director Elizabeth Hegerat, noting there are a few new features this year.
“Kapow Comics will have a comic and graphic novel tent with local comic creator Eric Dyck and Calgary comic artist Sam Hester. And the Piikani First Nations will be bringing their tipi,” she said.
Word on the Street have boosted the kids’ tent this year with appearances by authors Margaret Ruurs (Stepping Stones), Governor General Award-winning author and illustrator Barbara Reed (Picture A Sky), Ruby Slipperjack (Dear Canada:These Are My Words) Kevin Sands (The Assassin’s Curse) and Svetlana Chmakova (Brave).
Hegerat is looking forward to author Joy Kogawa author of Obasan and the recently released her memoir “Gently to Nagasaki.” She is also excited to feature Ian Hamilton, author of “The Courturier of Milan,” which is part of the Ava Lee series.
There are plenty of southern Alberta authors participating including Calgary-based author Sharon Butala and local author Richard Stevenson.
Word on the Street begins with a Blackfoot blessing from elder Francis First Charger, who will also be sharing Blackfoot stories at noon, which will be followed by a scavenger hunt beginning at 11 a.m. Hegerat is looking forward to a panel discussion, “What To Do If A Cartoonist Moves Next Door,” featuring Eric Dyck and Sam Hester.
There is a bigger Blackfoot presence at this year’s festival with the tipi set-up demonstration at 11:15, which will host Blackfoot stories with Francis First Charger at noon, a Blackfoot language lesson with Beverly Hungry Wolf at 1 p.m., a powwow drumming workshop with Jaron Weasel Bear, at 2 p.m., a Métis culture and history lesson with Rod McLeod at 3 p.m. and much more.
There are also collaborations with other community groups including the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, who present Story-time with Tad and Tomo at 1 p.m. and Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge and area presenting Minyo Dancers at 4:14. The Lethbridge Pride Fest feature storytelling with drag queens at 3 p.m.
But why restrict interest in books and reading to Word on the Street? You can get your library membership renewed for free at Word on the Street.
“It’s bigger and better than ever,” enthused Lethbridge Public Library communications co-ordinator Bernice Duguay.
“We’re hoping we’ll get more people than last year,” Hegerat added.
The full schedule is online at https://thewordonthestreet.ca/lethbridge/.
Word on the Street kicks off a week of arts-related fun with the seventh annual Arts Days festival, which is part of the 14th annual Art Walk, which pairs local artists with local businesses, in which they will be creating art on the spot in several cases.
“We’ll have 75 artists in 40 different venues around downtown,” said Allied Arts Council project co-ordinator Muffy McKay. “We‘re planning a lot of different events with a lot of events that were already happening this week.”
After checking out the ArtWalk and getting your passport stamped through “Stomp N’ Stamp” and entering your name into a draw for an original painting by local artist Aaron Hagan, stop by Galt Gardens Sept. 29 and 30 for a beer and German-themed fun with Oktoberfest.
So there will be a plethora of visual and performing arts happening throughout the week.
“There will be buskers performing on the streets. SAAG hosts a pancake breakfast on Saturday to kick off the Artwalk,” McKay continued.
“And Plum is having a food art demonstration called Eat Your Sins, which is a seven-course meal based on the seven deadly sins on, Sept. 28, ” McKay said.
There is a special Drink and Draw on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge and a special merpeople-themed cabaret at the Drunken Sailor, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
“It’s called the Tipsy Mermaid,” McKay said. You must RVSP to take part in that event. Admission is $10.
Casa will be hopping throughout the week with numerous activities taking place in the ATB Community room. Calgary Theatre Group Tape and Paper Productions, featuring ArtsDays Young Artist Camille Pavlenko, perform “adult puppet show,” “Timmy, Tommy and the Haunted Hotel” about sisters Timmy and Tommy who get trapped in the haunted Barrington Hotel where they must work with ghosts to escape alive. Tickets are $20 regular, $15 students, seniors and artists.
The show begins at 8 p.m., Sept. 28 and 29. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee on Sept. 29.
The outdoor artisans market is sure to be a popular draw. it will be in Rotary Square outside of Casa, Sept. 30 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.and Oct. 1, from noon-4 p.m. featuring works by numerous local artisans.
Over at the University of Lethbridge, the first theatre Xtra production of the season opens during Arts Days in the David Spinks Theatre, on Thursday, Sept. 28 as U of LMFA candidate Lindzi Spackman directs Hannah Moscovitch’s play “Little One.” The play, about two adopted sisters, dives into a revealing dimension, runs Sept. 28-30.
Casa also hosts “Muffins, Mimosas and Movies” on Sunday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. featuring art documentary “Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace.” Casa hosts an artist talk with artist in Residence Tracey-May Chambers on Wednesday, Sept 27 at 7 p.m. and ends this year’s ArtsDays with the Selfie Time Capsule Project on Oct. 1.
The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens also features local artists Karina Mak, Sue Wilkie and Amy Dodic, leading a tour of some of their favourite places to draw inspiration., Sept. 24. Tickets for that event are $45.
If all of that art gets your own creative juices flowing, perhaps daily creativity prompts, available in the arts days program available at the Allied Arts Council, will trigger that next great work. The prompts for each day are listed in the program, then post your works for the world to see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #YQLCreates.
“Last year the creativity prompts lead to a collaboration between two artists who connected through Facebook because of it,” McKay observed.
McKay always looks forward to the event.
“The Lethbridge Centennial Quilters Guild has a show (at The Galt Museum, Sept. 29 and 30 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 1 from 1-5 p.m.) and local poet Ken Sears will be poetry bombing people, which is really cool. So we’ll see what happens,” McKay said
“It will be really cool. I hope people will come out and see it because it is a real showcase for southern Alberta artists. There will be visual arts, theatre, music, poetry and everything,” she said.