As the arts festival enters its sixth year, the landmark cultural event is shaken up and reinvented
Each year, Airdrie’s arts community gets together during ARTember to celebrate the creative spirit of this city. Now in its sixth year, the festival is getting a makeover for 2016.
Instead of running for two weeks, the event has now been condensed to three days to coincide with Alberta Culture Days from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.
“It’s like ARTember 2.0,” says Deanna Hunter, chair of ARTember’s organizing committee and Creative Airdrie Society.
Instead of 16 days, ARTember will be a weekend – but have the same amount of stuff and more.
“Some of the changes came from feedback we were hearing … we heard [visitors] didn’t connect it all into one experience. So we wanted to create a real experience,” Hunter adds.
The venue has also shifted. Due to Nose Creek Park getting a facelift, the festival will now be held at East Lake Park, including the first Rock the Rails mainstage concert series on the Friday and Saturday featuring headliners Brad Sims and Gin Blossoms.
The main event on the Friday will be Schooled in the Arts, an outdoor party for local junior and high school students. Over the weekend, highlights will include a performance by members of SLAM in Airdrie (Supporting Local Area Musicians); a Street Art Installation Challenge; a kids’ craft area called Global Van Gogh’s; face painting; a Makers’ Market featuring local artisans; and, of course, the ever-popular food trucks.
Hunter says the popular, artful AIRdirondack Art Project – transforming Adirondack chairs into one-of-a-kind pieces of art – is back, but with a twist. “We’re not doing a gala this year. Instead, we’ll have the chairs [on display] in the park, and then we’ll have a silent auction and anyone can get in on the auction,” she says of what is the major fundraiser for Creative Airdrie Society and ARTember.
“We’re also going to have buskers this year,” Hunter says.
Organizers hope to see as many as 4,000 people come through the park over the weekend.
Hunter says she sees ARTember continuing to grow into a major social event for the region. “I can imagine this growing bigger and better every year,” she says.
Admission to ARTember events is free, except for tickets for the Rock the Rails mainstage evening performances on the Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $20 for the Brad Sims show on Sept. 30 and $45 for Gin Blossoms on Oct. 1. (Kids under 10 get in free to both concerts.) To order tickets, visit artember.ca
ARTEMBER FAST FACTS
Hours: Friday 3-6 p.m., primarily for the Schooled in the Arts event (gates open for Brad Sims at 6 p.m.); Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (gates open for Gin Blossoms at 6 p.m.); Sunday 12-4 p.m.
Events (mostly happening on Saturday-Sunday) include:
• Schooled in the Arts after-school party for local students, with DJ, decal-making and dance troops (Friday only);
• Rock the Rails concert series featuring Brad Sims (Sept. 30) and Gin Blossoms (Oct. 1);
• Airdrie SLAM reunion performance (local songwriters) (Sunday only);
• face painting;
• Global Van Gogh’s kids’ craft station featuring local vendors;
• AIRdirondack Art Project display and silent auction;
• Street Art Installation Challenge (two artists have 24 hours to create an original piece between Saturday and Sunday);
• Piano in the Park (watch a piano painted by a local artist and sit down to play a tune);
• Makers’ Market (local artisans);
• Nosh Pit (food trucks); and
• beer gardens (as part of Rock the Rails).