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Spotlight: 2019 ArtsEverywhere Festival

Guelph’s Festival of Ideas!

Welcome to the ArtsEverywhere Festival 2019 where art, ideas, politics, and community spirit thrive! Over four days — January 24 to 27 — the festival offers lectures, conversations, music, artistic performances, circle gatherings, literary readings, and art exhibitions.

Three years ago, the festival was born out of the success of the Guelph Lecture—On Being, which has become a central event of Guelph’s artistic and intellectual life. The festival is a live version of, Musagetes’ online platform for artistic experimentation and exploration of the fault lines of modern society. Musagetes, the University of Guelph, and the Eramosa Institute co-present the annual ArtsEverywhere Festival in collaboration with numerous community partners, volunteers, businesses, sponsors, and creative people who have a say in who we invite, how we frame the discussions, and how we keep the conversation going after the festival is over.

The ArtsEverywhere Festival aims to spark rich dialogues about issues, ideas, and challenges that are of the interest to our Guelph & Region audiences, and of relevance and interest to our national and global audiences via By bringing to the stage a diverse, informative, creative, and, sometimes, unlikely combination of speakers, artists, and musicians, the festival offers a program that connects to the ongoing work and needs of many organizations and individuals that wish to make the world a better place.

This year’s festival kicks off with the Big Ideas Lecture in Art & Culture, presented by Alessandra Pomarico and Nikolay Oleynikov, the curators of Free Home University (FHU). FHU is a pedagogical and artistic experiment created in 2013 in Southern Italy by a local and international group of artists and thinkers, along with Musagetes. FHU focuses on generating new ways of sharing and creating knowledge by experiencing life in common. Their lecture will be followed by a concert in partnership with Kazoo! Fest by Petra Glynt and New Chance.

The Guelph Lecture—On Being is the signature event of the festival. The evening begins with our literary guest, Esi Edugyan, reading from her 2018 Giller Prize-winning novel, Washington Black. The keynote lecture will be delivered by Toronto Star Editorial Page Editor Emeritus Haroon Siddiqui, who will talk about social media, populism, and the crisis of democracy. After an intermission, Polaris Prize-winning vocalist and artist Tanya Tagaq will perform with her trio, and read from her new memoir, Split Tooth.

Following a very engaging series of conversations that happened at the 2018 festival, Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa Andreotti are curating a series of events all day on Saturday, featuring panel conversations and participatory performances in collaboration with Zab Maboungou, Sandra Semchuk, and others. What ways of imagining and being become viable when art is able to interrupt our satisfaction with the modern-colonial economies we are invested in? The day will conclude with a dance performance by Zab Maboungou of Montreal’s Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata. And if that isn’t enough for one day, the ArtsEverywhere Dance Party with Guelph Dance! and the Mix Mix Dance Collective just might be!

The last day of the festival will begin with a conversation on Indigenous sovereignty, queerness, and poetry, featuring Cherokee scholar, activist, and writer Qwo-Li Driskill. The final session of the festival will be a panel conversation titled “The Curse of Geography: Artistic Journalism” featuring a team of artists and journalists who developed an ongoing series of multi-media investigations published on The reports focus on the effects of geographic isolation from and proximity to centres of power, and explore issues of social justice, human rights, and public policy. The conversation will be facilitated by ArtsEverywhere’s managing editor Sidd Joag.

For the first time, the festival is also featuring four exhibitions:
The Curse of Geography (Art Gallery of Guelph)
Fierce: Toronto portraits by Ajamu of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer individuals living and working in Toronto (Boarding House Arts)
Dispatches from the Ghost Ship portraits by Jacob Cohen of inmates at Rikers Island (Musagetes)
Markets of Resistance installation by Angel Velasco Shaw of Philippine markets resisting colonialism

If you would like more information about the festival, are interested in becoming a festival volunteer, or have media and interview requests please contact Find more info about the 2019 ArtsEverywhere Festival online at, @AEFestGuelph,