King George Public School comes back to life with arts festival
Public Energy Performing Arts is hosting an arts festival next month at the former King George Public School to help revitalize the city’s arts scene.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Peterborough’s arts scene to a virtual standstill and disrupted the livelihoods of artists in the area.
The Erring at King George Art Festival will be the city’s largest multi-arts festival featuring over 70 artists, bringing their art forms to life and captivating audiences with performances, exhibitions and self-guided art installations .
The festival will take place over two weekends, May 6-8 and May 13-15, spread across the three floors of the now-closed century-old East City Elementary School.
Erring at King George is the predecessor of the Erring on the Mount art festival which took place in 2014, featuring 50 art installations.
With more than 12 different dance and theater groups, performances will repeat multiple times over a three-hour period, said Bill Kimball, executive director of Public Energy Performing Arts.
“You can listen to a dance track in a classroom on the third floor and then go to the gym and watch another show,” Kimball said.
“In the meantime, you can go to the classrooms for art exhibits, you just walk around the whole building and learn about different ways of making art.”
Alice Williams and Brad Copping are among the artists taking part in the festival.
Wiliams, an Anishinaabe artist from Curve Lake First Nation, and Copping, a glass artist and sculptor, created an immersive art installation by combining artistic mediums that include blown glass, textile, sound and projection.
Their art installation will focus on spring and will include vibrant greens, glass droplets and a quilted medicine wheel, along with sounds to immerse viewers in the experience.
Other installations include Circus Repurpose, giving people hands-on experience of making an art installation and allowing their imaginations to run wild with creative possibilities.
“It will be an open art studio so anyone who comes to Erring in King George can come here and make art,” said Circus Repurpose artist John Marris.
“Whenever the festival is open, we will be open and people can come and use the material that we have set up here and engage in working with other people and working with the artists.
Art exhibits like Circus Repurpose will help people explore their creative side and engage with understanding the creativity artists experience in the community, he said.
Marris added that they will offer different mediums including paper and card stock, printmaking, fabrics, and drawing and painting to help people express themselves on their journey through experience.
“We have opportunities to do sculpture, papier-mache, hat making and crazy puppets,” he said.
“The limits are people’s imaginations.”
Shows like this are important to the community because they showcase a vibrant arts scene in the city, Kimball said.
“It’s a city taking its place with cities much bigger than it,” he said.
“It shows people that we can somehow punch above our weight in the arts. It’s something citizens can be proud of and a way to experience art they don’t normally have.
Kimball said he hopes the art festival will lead to more community art installations like this one that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Once the festival is over, it will continue to live online where people can continue to interact with videos, images and other interactive aspects.
“We are doing extensive documentation of this event, and there will be a way to find out all about it online if people want to,” Kimball said.
The festival takes place on May 6 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., May 7 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., May 8 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., May 13 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., May 14 from 3 p.m. 5 p.m.
Festival passes start at $5, available online at eventbrite.ca/e/erring-at-king-george-tickets-311827001957