FLOURISH: Exchanges and Residencies

Category: community 195
by Matt Carter @M_J_C73

Fredericton’s spring music/arts mash-up plan exciting next move.

flourishIt’s been just short of four months since the first edition of FLOURISH brought together musicians and artists from around the region to celebrate the end of winter and welcome the mercury’s slow rise. And by all accounts, year one was a success.

Recently the event announced plans to explore ideas of future artist exchanges and residencies as an experiment in cross community collaboration, taking artists and musicians out of their comfort zone to explore and work in another locale.

“Flourish will offer a residency program focused on community, intercity relations and collaborations,” says festival founder Jane Blanchard. “We were lucky to have a few out of town bands and artists at the festival back in April and a big topic of conversation revolved around the disconnect and lack of engagement between the different music scenes on the East Coast. This lack of engagement makes it difficult for bands to book gigs out of town, artists to contact galleries, etc. I think we are doing really well right now in terms of integration, but things could always be better.”

The first FLOURISH event taught us two things. We learned that yes, in fact the city could accommodate another festival-style event in celebration of our arts community. The second lesson involved a combination of collaboration, risk and determination. If you want something to happen, you just have to do it.

Everything starts with an idea and grows from there. While all the pieces of these potential exchanges have yet to be decided or sorted out, a concept sometimes is enough to get people talking.   The rest will come together.

“Exchanges are a little up in the air right now and totally dependent on bands coming forward and saying that they are interested and willing to put some brainpower behind it,” said Blanchard. “Bands are harder to manage due to a larger number of people, but I think with the right groups it would be a great experience.

“In my mind I have it that the bands would literally switch places for a week or two. We would have support set up on each end, a booked show at the end of the swap, places to stay, friends ready to collaborate, and to help integrate them into the scene.”

The first residency is planned for December. Based on the support FLOURISH has received from the city’s art community during its initial run last spring, Blanchard feels confident the idea can succeed, even if all the pieces have yet to be sorted out.

“It’s something I’ve talked a lot about with Penelope from The Shifty Bits Cult,” said Blanchard. “I’ve kind of just decided to give it a go, see the interest and take it from there. I know we have the community support to back a project like this up. It would be a similar process for visual artists, groups of theatre performers or what have you. We will sort out the support system that you need in Fredericton to experience our city and in the case of exchanges we will hope that the incoming band will do the same.”

Interested artists are encouraged to get in touch through the FLOURISH website where more information will be available.

“We are going to have an application form that people will fill out and email to flourishfredericton@gmail.com. The selection process is going to be dependent on some basic aspects like timing, dependability, etc.”

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