Art Walk Festival and Marketplace
As one of the largest street festivities in Canada
celebrating the visual arts is the Art Walk Festival and Marketplace that
happens in Edmonton.
Whyte Avenue Murals (WhAM) and the Paint Spot, a local
art supply store and gallery, coordinate the festival that happens
annually over three days in July. Seeking to be different than a gallery
setting, the event aims to make art visible while providing a venue for
the larger public to interact directly with established and emerging
Old Strathcona, an historically rich and picturesque
neighbourhood provides the Festival's setting. Streets along the area are colourfully lined with makeshift studios for artists and spectators to
occupy themselves in.
Artists are allotted a particular space in which they
have the opportunity to produce work in the outdoors. Passersby can pick
up and examine handmade pots, sit down and have a silly portrait of them
made, chat, or simply stand and watch artists work.
Studios are assigned based on the match between a
particular artist's work and different store merchants' needs. Outside of
a store specializing in street and dance culture, a graffiti artist may be
found. Ceramic artisans may be placed in front of home decor shops.
A range of visual treasures can be found at the
Festival. Painters, sculptors, glassmakers, cartoonists, wood carvers,
sketch artists, Aboriginal artists, fibre artists, airbrush artists, and
others have been hosted in past Art Walks.
The Festival's intent is to share the creative process
by allowing artists to make and exhibit their work in public view, but it
also serves to stimulate movement in and out of stores, assisting the
myriad of independent businesses to continue thriving. With the upcoming
festival being the eighth, Art Walk continues to the artistic momentum
that Old Strathcona summers and early falls are known for.