Guelph is about to get hit with a lot of big ideas about the transformative and reconciliatory power of art.
The philanthropic arts organization Musagetes, headquartered at Boarding House Arts in Guelph, is bringing the ArtsEverywhere Festival to the city this month.
If there’s a festival headliner it would have to be influential artist Suzy Lake, the American-born pioneer of contemporary art. She has made Canada home since the late 1960s.
For five decades, Lake has used photography, video and performance art to delve into questions of identity, gender, and aging. She has had an enormous influence on a younger generation of artists.
Born in Detroit, she was an anti-war and civil rights activist in the 60s. After immigrating to Canada, she studied at Concordia University.
The three-day event revolves around a number of arts themes, but has a core focus on the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The event will feature a number of lectures, workshops and performances on the subject.
During the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 20, a workshop entitled “What Can I Do” will discuss “doing reconciliation.” It will explore a new creation story for Canada, and look at what individuals can do to contribute to reconciliation between Canadian society and Aboriginal peoples. The workshop happens at Musagetes, 6 Dublin St. S.
A panel discussion on Saturday afternoon will look at the complexities of reconciliation. The free event happens at the Guelph Black Heritage Society, starting at 3 p.m.
The annual The Guelph Lecture – On Being Canadian, will be wrapped into the ArtsEverywhere Festival. It happens on the Friday evening at River Run Centre. Author, activist and academic Jeannette Armstrong will give the lecture Human Relationships as Land Ethic.
Armstrong is a professor of indigenous studies at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus, and Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy.
She is the author of the novels Slash and Whispering in Shadows, the book of poetry Breath Tracks, as well as two books for children. She is also a visual artist.
A number of clown artists will perform on the Saturday evening during “On Being Clown: Failing and Reconciling in Canada.” The workshop will look at the history of clowning in Canada, while revolving around the theme of failure and its role in the reconciliation process.
The ArtsEverywhere Festival is a spinoff of Musagetes’ ArtsEverywhere online forum, which explores the role the arts can play in addressing problems of contemporary society.
Musagetes was launched around for nearly 10 years with a mandate to help restore the power of imagination in individuals, and to apply artistic thinking and inquiry to everyday life.
The ArtsEverywhere Festival will offer a number of lectures and conversations, music, literary readings, and artistic performances.
It runs from Thursday, Jan. 19 through Saturday, Jan. 21.
Find information about tickets and the program at www.artseverywhere.ca.