Art can change the way we look at the world, and that’s exactly what’s needed right now, according to Ken Blackburn, executive director of the Campbell River Arts Council and the man taking the lead on the upcoming Art & Earth Festival here in Campbell River.
The three day event, happening Sept. 20-22, will be spread community-wide and aims to have something for everyone, Blackburn says, as it’s everyone’s responsibility to help with the problems we’re facing as a society – and as a species.
“We all have to do what we can,” Blackburn says, “and the arts sector is no different. The arts, especially, can begin and continue conversations, open dialogue, get people thinking and play an important role in this whole discussion. So that’s what we’re going to do. Because it’s important. And I think if we’re going to talk about what we can each do and address these environmental challenges, everybody’s got to contribute how they can. If you’re a politician or an economist or a scientist or an artist, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ve got a voice.”
But it’s also important that it’s not just one artistic medium – or one facet of the environmental pie, so-to-speak – that is used to foster those conversations. The festival will feature painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, dance, music, poetry, weaving and more, because everyone needs a different path into the discussion.
“The voices of music and film and sculpture and dance and photography will resonate with people in different ways,” Blackburn says. “Some people maybe couldn’t give a damn about sculpture, but they really love photography or painting. They are all communicating in different ways and hitting us in different aesthetics, and that’s important.”
It’s also important, Blackburn says, for the festival to be spread throughout the community to give as many people access to it as possible.
Whether it’s the youth bike ride in Beaver Lodge Lands with environmental interpretive stops along the way, driftwood sculpture at the Walter Morgan Studio in Willow Point or engaging with the artists on-site at Sybil Andrews Cottage next door, any of the various presentations and exhibitions at the Museum, checking out the poetry being installed on the windows of various downtown businesses, the performances at Rivercity Stage or Beachfire Brewing and Nosh House – which is creating a custom brew for the festval out of locally-sourced berries and plants – or interpretive walks along the river, there will be something within just a couple blocks of everyone in Campbell River, Blackburn says.
While the three-day event will hopefully make people think, Blackburn says, it’s mostly about having fun and appreciating the beauty and majesty of our region.
“It’s not about being preachy and wagging fingers,” Blackburn says. “It’s about celebrating how amazing this area is, with the hope that if people are awed by what we have, maybe they’ll respect it a little more or pay a little more attention.”
And it all culminates with the annual Fall Festival at Haig-Brown House on World Rivers Day on Sept. 22.
For more on the festival, check out the schedule at crarts.ca/artandearth or call Blackburn directly at 250-923-0213, especially if you’d like to volunteer to help out or get involved in some other way.