Edmonton’s Kaleido Family Arts Festival is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year and is expected to see 40 000 – 60 000 over the course of the weekend. As an interdisciplinary festival, those who decide to stroll down 118th will experience a myriad interplay of musical acts, street performers, theatre presentations and gallery showings at various artistic venues, back alleys, and crosswalks.
Although the festival was first created as a result of 118th Avenue’s bad rap the festival has helped to revitalize the area. Pam Baergen, Gallery Coordinator for Kaleido, says, “One thing about 118th avenue and Arts on the Avenue in particulars that the people in the community are dedicated to helping. So, as long as we continue to include the local groups in the festival then I think the [it] is doing something great for the community.”
Kaleido only had three artistic venues in its early years, which didn’t warrant enough attention to shut the avenue down. But the festival has come a long way over the last few years, growing to 19 artistic venues, closing 118th down to just foot traffic. In terms of visual artists, the festival has seen a growing number in applications. The main gallery space is open call, meaning it’s open to any media form or subject matter – anyone can apply as long as the piece suitable for all audiences.
The festival draws a lot of local talent. Christy Morrin, Executive Director of Arts on the Aveays, “probably 85 percent of the people we have are all local artists and the rest are from Canada.”
Among that 85 percent is Sam Cramer, a local Edmonton artist who has been part been part of the festival for a number of years. For Sam, the festival has been a great way to get her work out to the public, “When you make art it’s a balancing act between time-money-energy, energy-money-time. So it’s a good way for me to get the stuff out there with not as much prep as I’d need as if I was doing a solo show in a gallery.”
The Kaleido Family Arts Festival sets itself up to be a fun, unique experience for people of all ages, and even though Kaleido only lasts for a weekend, the positive effect the festival has had on 118th avenue has been lasting thanks to the efforts of Arts on the Ave and its volunteers.