Springer Market Square and Confederation Basin will showcase diverse cultural performances from around the world this weekend.
The City of Kingston is hosting the Intercultural Arts Festival on Sept. 17 in Confederation Basin and Springer Market Square. The festival will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., celebrating cultures from around the world in the form of food, music, and art.
“The Intercultural Arts Festival brings together Kingstonians and artists from outside of Kingston to put Kingston on the map for cultural programming,” Project Analyst (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiatives) for the City of Kingston Samyuktha Punthambekar said in an interview with The Journal.
The Intercultural Arts Festival provides the opportunity to try authentic flavours and ceremonies from regions beyond Canada.
The City included community members from different initiatives to demonstrate a range of diverse cultures beyond what’s normally offered.
“As our community evolved, creating opportunities to be showcased becomes apparent. To ensure a diverse range of cultures are being represented, we worked collaboratively with community partners such as ISKA [Immigrant Services Kingston and Area], KEYS [KEYS Employment and Newcomer Services], and cultural groups from Queen’s and [St Lawrence College],” the City of Kingston said in a statement to The Journal.
When Punthambekar planned the event, she called out to the community to ask members to showcase their talent and culture. She also used her connections within the City to help spread the word about opportunities to participate in the event.
“You will see by the large list of participants how receptive our community is and their willingness to share their diverse skills and offerings,” the City said.
The City said the festival is a free event for anyone to join and is an excellent way to celebrate Kingston and its vibrancy. They encourage people from all age groups to join in the event and learn from a variety of different people to gain exposure to more ways of learning.
“The Intercultural Arts Festival aims to serve as a place to gather, celebrate, and enjoy the various cultures that make Kingston a vibrant city,” the City said.
The event will be a blend of experiences to highlight different ways people experience culture. The headline performance will be Tocani, a Toronto-based contemporary fusion act whose members are rooted in South America. The show will feature costumes, music, dance, poetry, and theatre in a blend of colour and rhythm.
Interactive workshops will showcase Bachata dances, Aztec dances, and Kingston Pride doing drag make-up tutorials. The City believes these activities will lead to more cohesion in the community.
“[The Intercultural Arts Festival] can lead to better outcomes in various aspects of life, fostering creativity, innovation, empathy, and social cohesion. The festival helps create a more just and inclusive society, where everyone has an opportunity to succeed,” the City said.
The City of Kingston expects the event will have over 5,000 attendees during the eight hours the festival is open. Their greatest challenge in coordinating the event is making sure they can represent all members of the community.
“As the festival grows, we’re excited to be offering more and more diverse experiences to our community.”
The event and its host strive to make Kingston inclusive to all and hope people come and learn about different cultures while here.
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