Impressive city compilation highlights more than just great music.
Last week the forward thinking art collective, Shifty Bits Cult, released Fredericton’s Mine, a collection of songs showcasing many of the city’s current music makers. Designed as equal parts celebration and awareness of the many talented musicians making waves throughout the city these days, the project also incorporates an important visual element, pairing each selection with a unique work of art as a means of encouraging cross-collaboration and appreciation between arts disciplines – a move many local artists recognise as essential to further strengthen the city’s thriving arts community.
“Music and art go hand in hand,” said Stefan Westner, a local artist, performing musician and a member of the ShiftWork art collective. He feels these type of collaborations help to broaden the arts audience beyond just artists supporting artists. “It’s one thing for visual artists and musicians to support each other’s projects as consumers. There has to be people listening to the songs and looking at the artwork. But what happens when the barrier is broken and the two groups get involved in each other’s projects is both unpredictable and inspiring for both parties. It also has potential for a great and maybe more lasting effect on the audience of both or either.”
With a large number of artists residing, creating and interacting within the city’s downtown core, Westner feels the tight quarters help make these types of collaboration possible. Size has its benefits.
“In Fredericton, it’s both easier and more essential for artistic collaboration across disciplines,” he said. “Our individual scenes are pretty small, and rely on each other for support. The good thing is this also makes it easier to get in touch with people in other genres, disciplines or media.”
By organising festivals, town hall meetings and public art exhibits, the Shifty Bits Cult and ShiftWork have both been working hard to bring artists together. Fredericton’s Mine is the latest in an ongoing series of projects that help to foster artistic creativity, inspiration and appreciation from a broader audience.
“It can be easy to get trapped in a sphere of influence for any artist,” said Westner. “Constantly looking for inspiration and developing new ideas is what keeps a scene fresh and vibrant. Just as learning a new technique or jamming with a new person can open up possibilities, engaging with a completely different form of art can trigger results no one expected.”
Connexion ARC’s Sophia Bartholomew has witnessed the power of collaboration first hand through the many exhibits she has helped facilitate through the city’s only artist-run-centre. Connexion ARC (formerly Gallery Connexion) is one of Fredericton’s longest running collaborative art spaces with programming that draws from a limitless scope of creative disciplines.
“I like the metaphor of drafting off each other – like in cycling – so that everyone’s not going alone against a brutal headwind,” she said. “Sharing time and skills and momentum is a really good thing, whenever possible. I think in art and music and theatre and film there’s this shared interest in wanting to make something new – to contribute to the visible surface of the world. In Fredericton particularly, I think it’s also a shared interest in making something happen here – because if you don’t do it, it might not happen otherwise.”
With 41 tracks spread over the two components of this digital release and contributions from over 20 individual artists, Fredericton’s Mine is an achievement worth celebrating and a shining example of the wonderful community that exists here in the City of Stately Elms.