Dirt City¦Dream City
Dirt City¦Dream City is a collaborative effort with fifteen Edmonton’s artists and artist/curator Kendal Henry to create site-specific public artworks throughout the Quarters district. These collaborations will delve into the past, look to the future, wallow in the grit and radiate in the sometimes-hidden beauty that is alluring and unique to the Quarters to conceive provocative and innovative public interventions. These celebratory and challenging works can be experienced this summer between July 20 and July 30, 2012 throughout the Quarters Downtown.
Inspired by transitory public art interventions in various cities around the world, this project is part of a strong, arts-driven revitalization in the Quarters.
The title of the exhibition, Dirt City¦Dream City, plays on the underground nickname that some artists in Edmonton have for their home – it is referenced in the name of a local film production company, hip hop album, art exhibition, and a blog. “Dirt City” is used with some irony and deep affection. Taken literally, the term ‘Dirt’ is a word for what positive things grow out of. Metaphorically, it reflects both the working class, industrial history of Edmonton as well as the way the project will manifest - an art exhibition in a series of gravel parking lots. “Dream City” speaks to the pioneering spirit and do-it-yourself attitude many Edmontonians have.
Dirt City¦Dream City is a name that pays homage to the dichotomy of the Quarters – a place in a state of transition; it is undergoing a transformation from a beleaguered but strong community with hundreds of flesh-and-blood people who have a long history here, working to realize their dreams of revitalization and rebuild what has been lost.
Friday, July 20th from 4 PM to 7 PM
Join the Edmonton Arts Council in The Quarters Downtown for the outdoor Dirt City:Dream City Launch Event in the green space on the South West corner of Jasper Avenue and 95 Street The evening’s festivities include a Lion Dance performed by the Hong De Cultural And Athletic Association, musical performances by Edmonton Emcee, and Multi-Instrumentalist Mitchmatic, mercurial crooner Jom Comyn, local trio Camembert, CJ set by River Valley Girl and hosted by members of the 2011 Canadian Festival Of Spoken Word Champions, Breath In Poetry.
Kendal Henry | Curator Talk and Guided Tour
2 PM on Saturday, July 21 at The Artery, 9535 Jasper Avenue
Kendal Henry is an artist and curator who lives in New York City and specializes in the field of public art for the past twenty years. He illustrates that public art can be used as a tool for social engagement and economic development through the projects and programs he’s initiated in the US, Europe, Russia, Asia, Central Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.
He currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts’ Public Art Summer Residency program and is a guest lecturer at various universities and educational institutions including the Abbey Mural Workshop at the National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts; Rhode Island School of Design Senior Studio; and Pratt Institute’s Arts and Cultural Management Program. Kendal served as the Director of Culture and Economic Development for the City of Newburgh, NY where he created the region’s first Percent for Art Program. Prior to that post he was Manager of Arts Programs at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts for Transit for eleven years. During this time, he has overseen the commissioning, fabrication and installation of MTA’s permanent art projects, served as a member of the MTA’s in-house design team, and produced temporary exhibitions at Grand Central Terminal.
Previous to this experience he served as a Project Manager at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program. Kendal is also the Curator at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, NY and was elected to served two 3-year terms on the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council and Chaired the Communications Committee.
Chelsea Boos is a multi-disciplinary visual artist and designer based in Edmonton. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta and holds a Bachelor of Design with Distinction. When she is not drifting through the streets of Edmonton in search of the next subject of Back Words, her column in Vue Weekly, she can be found making the city more beautiful through art and design. She also worked with the Edmonton Arts Council coordinating the Colour Alley project, winner of an Edmonton Urban Design Award in 2011.
The public was invited to an Open House, hosted by the ARTery on May 5. Visitors engaged with the artists' work and gave feedback on the proposals produced during a week-long intensive workshop leading up to the Open House.
The Edmonton Arts Council is a not-for-profit organization that supports and promotes the arts community in Edmonton. The EAC works to increase the profile and involvement of arts and culture in all aspects of our community life through activities that:
- Invest in Edmonton festivals, arts organizations and individual artists through municipal, corporate and private funding.
- Represent Edmonton’s arts community to government and other agencies and provide expert advice on issues that affect the arts.
- Build partnerships and initiate projects that strengthen our community.
- Create awareness of the quality, variety and value of artistic work produced in Edmonton.
Transitory public art projects support artists in conducting experimental or contemporary interventions with the public realm, and can include for example, online or virtual projects, radio art, light art, video projections, performance, etc. The short-term nature of these projects helps to develop a greater understanding of public art and acceptance and demand for permanent public artworks. This program will stimulate dialogue and new ways of thinking about our neighborhoods and the public realm, while inspiring our local artists and cultivating future public artists and audiences.