Kingston Arts Council’s latest initiative expands Kingston’s arts scene beyond the city’s borders.
Kingston Arts Council (KAC), a regional arts organization, has developed a new method of engaging the community with its own lively arts scene.
KAC’s newest program, KAC in Conversation, is a series of talks, podcasts and blog posts that highlight Kingston’s diverse and unique artists.
The series strives to encourage members of Kingston’s community and beyond to explore and discuss the art that the city has to offer.
KAC Executive Director Bebhinn Jennings said Kingston’s arts community offers a unique experience of interdisciplinary arts.
“[It’s a] vibrant, active community that’s interested in cross-disciplinary exploration,” Jennings said.
“There are actors that are interested in visual arts and crafts people interested in performance. There’s a real melding of ideas.”
Jenning said arts education plays a role in strengthening and maintaining a strong arts community like Kingston’s.
While KAC has always filled that role for the community, KAC in Conversation aims to create a lasting influence about the possibilities of community art.
“I felt … that there were some artists in the city doing work that had regional, provincial, national and international impact. I wanted to really highlight the community arts aspect and the work that can be done and leave a lasting impact on our community,” Jennings said.
KAC has ensured that their series is as accessible as possible — in the physical sense and with an online presence.
The first event in the series, KAC in Conversation: Activators, took place on Jan. 28 in a storefront at 209 Wellington St., an accessible ground-floor location.
Jennings said hosting the events downtown also allows artists to recognize and engage with the spaces of Kingston’s downtown.
By creating a podcast series of the artist talks and blog posts, people from outside the Kingston community can learn about arts in the city.
“It’s important that our information can get out past the city boundaries and bring people to Kingston,” Jennings said.
“The arts and culture play a huge part of the economic strategy of the City so getting the word out about the amazing people here is our job.”
The first event, KAC in Conversation: Activators, featured the book launch of Dreamscape Interviews by Irina Skvortsova.
The book contains a collection of interviews from her time as Cultural Animator with artists and people working in Kingston’s community arts scene. Skvortsova is also featured in KAC in Conversation’s first blog post.
The event welcomed a line-up of featured speakers including visual artist Heather Haynes, whose work is inspired by her travels in Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Jeff Mann, a
Kingston-based artist who creates sculptures and paintings from car parts.
KAC in Conversation next event will take place in the fall, but they will upload a podcast of their first event in February and continue to upload blog posts to KAC’s website.
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