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Art in the Open moves art onto the streets and into nooks and crannies

Hamilton artist Brandon Vickerd has created “Sputnik Returned 2” a replica of Sputnik, the first man made satellite to orbit the earth. It’s installed as if it has crash-landed into a parked sedan.
Hamilton artist Brandon Vickerd has created “Sputnik Returned 2” a replica of Sputnik, the first man made satellite to orbit the earth. It’s installed as if it has crash-landed into a parked sedan.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Millefiore Clarkes will never forget attending her first-ever Art in the Open in 2011.

“I didn’t know what to expect. But it was stunning; an electric night where art spilled out of galleries and onto the streets and then moved into woods and around corners and into places you would never expect.

“It was also great to see the community out. It wasn’t the usual people you’d see at a gallery opening but families and tourists,” says the P.E.I. filmmaker who, besides taking in the various works, was one of the contributing artists.

Clarkes, in collaboration with her father, Gerard L. Clarkes, created an installation called “Art Amidst a Clearing.”

“It was a gallery without walls in Victoria Park. My father’s paintings were projected on three screens while his violin music, ‘Melodies for Max’ was played.”

Public reaction for the audiovisual presentation was positive.

“A large crowd was always gathered around the installation and some people even pulled up chairs to take it in over time. It was such an invigorating experience; it left us riding high for weeks afterwards,” says Clarkes, adding that the father-daughter duo has teamed up again for the festival happening today in Charlottetown.

Filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes, second right, meets with the co-curators of Art in the Open after a recent news conference at Charlottetown city hall. From left are Pan Wendt, Becka Viau and D’Arcy Wilson. Clarkes’ collaboration with her father is one of 35 installations and performances at this year’s festival. It runs today from 4 p.m. to midnight.

They will present “Soft Snow” at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House. The projection and live performance will include a contemporary classical score.

“It’s an immersive experience that combines musical performance for three voices, flute and piano with a large-screen video projections,” says Clarkes, adding showing will take place at 7, 8:45 and 9:30 p.m.

It’s one of 35 installations and performances for members of the public to discover and interact with at this year’s festival, which runs 4 p.m. to midnight on Saturday.


5 Facts about art in the open
1 - A free annual summer event that highlights Charlottetown’s vibrant art scene, its heritage spaces and cultural traditions.

2 - Much of the action will take place around the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Victoria Park, Rochford and Connaught squares and Victoria Row from 4 p.m. – midnight.

3 - It transforms the historic downtown into an open air gallery for one day, inviting the community to engage in the creation and appreciation of art.

4 - Urban green spaces are celebrated and play a central role in the event.

5 - Ephemeral works of visual art are the focus of the event such as installations, screenings/projections, performance art, theatre, dance, portable sculpture and other temporary art forms.


This year the festival has attracted some high-profile artists from across the country. Rémi Belliveau is a multi-disciplinary Acadian artist from Moncton. He will show his project, “Passe-Pierre”, an outdoor installation/performance that explores Acadian rural traditions through goose tongue greens and Island potatoes with the Acadian community while hearing their stories.

Hamilton artist Brandon Vickerd is expected to shake things up a bit with his “r Returned 2” a replica of Sputnik, the first man made satellite to orbit the earth, installed as if it has crash-landed into a parked sedan.

There is much to experience, so it’s important to start early, says Becka Viau, co-curator and festival organizer.

“You don’t need a set plan, but there are some scheduled performances that should not be missed like the Carnavale en Promenade at 4 p.m. on Victoria Row.”

Then, be on the look out for Pelly McGeogeghan–Spoutist, played by actor Lennie MacPherson, at the Grafton Street loading dock of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

“He’ll have you in stiches every hour on the hour from 6-10 p.m.”

Along with the new programming festivalgoers can expect to see some fan favourites, including March of the Crows, an annual parade where hundreds of local residents dress up in handmade costume and travel from Victoria Row to Victoria Park at 7:45 p.m.

“My advice to festivalgoers: to plan for a journey of the imagination that can take a few hours and have fun.”


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Organizers with Art in the Open are excited about March of the Crows on Aug. 26. The annual parade, which travels down Victoria Row to Victoria Park begins at 7:45 p.m. From left are Kelly Gillis, Sharlene Kelly, Bradley Campbell and Sarah Bernard.
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