Art in the Open, Charlottetown’s outdoor public art festival, is 10 years old. With a decade of memories piling up and 2021 marking the final year of involvement for longtime organizers Becka Viau (Coordinator/Curator) and Pan Wendt (Curator), it seemed appropriate to reflect on the festival’s history and the 350+ projects that it has featured. The result is a new exhibition, Art in the Open at 10 Years: an Incomplete Archive, that will open to the public in June.
The first edition of Art in the Open in August 2011 brought the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, this town is small, and the City of Charlottetown together to collaborate and create a festival that celebrated visual art in the setting of the city’s parks and other public spaces.
Since then, partners such as Film PEI, the Black Cultural Society of PEI, the Federation Culturel de l’I.P.E., and CreativePEI, as well as many Canadian artists and community groups, have joined to sustain what has become a beloved event for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Charlottetown-based artist and archivist Donnalee Downe and Pan Wendt have been sourcing documentation, artifacts and artworks from artists who have been involved over the past 10 years, as well as the general public, for the new exhibit.
“It is amazing to go through the history of this festival—so many great projects, great memories,” reflects Wendt. “Just looking at the list of artists, I can’t believe all of the amazing creative people who have contributed. It has been the most successful way we have succeeded in connecting art and artists with the public over the years, and I’m really proud to have been involved. I think audiences would love to see all of the images and records we’re collecting in one place. Donnalee is a master organizer, categorizer, and collector, and she’s bringing an artistic vision to the exhibition as well.”
Art in the Open at 10 Years: an Incomplete Archive, will be on view from June 12 to September 19 at Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown.