Visiting Artists Flourish

Category: community 113

Local arts festival establishes artist residency program.

flourishLess than a year after Flourish Festival’s inaugural run, organisers are already knee deep in shaping the 2016 event.

Between sending out offers to bands, plotting line-ups and securing venues, festival founder Jane Blanchard launched an artist-in-residence series, welcoming artists from other cities into her home to live and create as an adopted member of the Fredericton scene.

Blanchard says the idea to invite artists to the city to create new works came from a conversation at one the Open Arts Gatherings spearheaded by the Shifty Bits Cult.

“We talked about trying to promote inter-connectivity between different cities, especially on the east coast,” said Blanchard. “I thought a good way to do that would be to bring in artists working in different mediums to Fredericton to partake in a short residency program.”

Despite having limited resources and a budget of $0, Blanchard has so far managed to bring two artists to Fredericton to participate in the project, with support from the arts community.

“We still have our family home and we just changed one of the rooms into a studio,” she said.  “There’s an extra bedroom and a jam space in the basement. Also, Connexion ARC has offered their space as well as Shiftwork.”

Halifax musician Gianna Lauren completed a residency near the end of 2015, focusing her time on writing new music. Saint John musician/filmmaker Patrick Bonner is currently in Fredericton plotting/shooting his short film project, Bad Noise.

Blanchard believes the more time artists can spend in the city, the greater the opportunity for creativity to…flourish.

“Having more time allows for an opportunity to get immersed in the arts community here and also time to work on a specific project with people in Fredericton,” she said. “The whole idea is that once you take artists out of their usual creative space or comfort zone and get them out into a different space in a different city, the act fosters creativity.”

A third residency is planned for 2016 with Ontario’s WHOOP-Szo.

Flourish 2016 will take place April 21-24, 2016. Follow Flourish Festival online for more information.

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