If the Mayans are right the world will come to end on Dec. 21, but if curator Paul Crawford is right the next six weeks at the Penticton Art Gallery will be amazing.
“Should the world end on Dec. 21, 2012 we can rest assured that we went out in a creative blaze of glory. If it doesn’t end then we all went out and supported a great cause and it has turned into a bit of a fundraiser for the gallery, which we desperately need,” said Crawford.
The End Of The World As We Know It exhibit is a an experiment for Crawford, who will be inviting around 60 artists to the gallery over the six weeks. It will be the larger amount of artists they have ever had in that time frame that are actively engaged. Despite the title, the exhibit is not focused on an apocalyptic end of the world.
“I’m thinking we are here at the precipice of a real social shift and I wanted to explore that. Each artist was free to interpret that as they wish,” said Crawford.
Looking to address the gap between generations, and in doing so build bridges of understanding and provide opportunities for community dialogue, Crawford came up with the concept. It is a six-week exhibition featuring unique artists collectives from across the province in music, visual arts, design, DJs, installations and workshops. Each weekend will feature a “happening” or event on the Friday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. leading up to Dec. 21, whether that is a electronic music dance party, hip hop showcase, or visual artists. The gallery will be transformed each weekend to reflect the artist and explore different aspects of contemporary art, music and culture. This is followed up by workshops held on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. addressing social issues, networking with artists and opportunities to learn and share knowledge.
“The intent is to encourage open and honest community dialogue, while providing unique opportunities for our community’s artists and youth to receive mentoring and information on the pros and cons of participating in this cultural community,” said Crawford.
The exhibition will build up to the End of the World Party, held on Dec. 21 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring Shane Philip. The musician juggles between shaking rhythms with world music instruments, sliding out grooves on his Weissenborn-style guitar while his foot taps in kicks. Philip’s musical stylings borrow from folk, reggae, blues and beyond. While the other exhibitions will be entrance by donation and open to all-ages, the final party will be a ticketed and licensed event as a fundraiser for the art gallery.
A key part to the six-week event is that the art engages the audience so they also become part of the installation.
“I want people to see that art doesn’t have to be boring or static. It can be engaging. We are all creative beings and I want everyone to come down and express themselves and feel comfortable in this environment,” said Crawford.
Week one of the End of the World As We Know It exhibition features a multimedia extravaganza with live electronic music from ShaMANoid, Psyentifica, J.A.DJ and Dubtecha. It will be followed on workshops of music production, VJing, DJing, info on starting up a record label, event/festival organization and more.
With support from the Vancouver Foundation, which provided a grant to the Penticton Art Gallery, Crawford was able to make the exhibition come to life. The Vancouver Foundation helps build more vibrant and resilient communities in B.C.
“I hope our community will be richer and I hope it will encourage other people to step up and take a chance. This is an amazing town and we are awash in richness of amazing events held here. There are amazing little communities within the whole community and I would like to see everyone work together to create events to share ideas and knowledge,” said Crawford. “There is so much opportunity here but we need people to step outside their comfort zone because the rewards are so much greater when you do.”
For a full list of the six-week event visit www.PentictonArtGallery.com.