The two-day event, believed to the be the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, will highlight the work of nine different artists, who will be creating one-of-a-kind pieces directly on Bridge Street.
From an interactive 3-D piece to a traditional street chalk portraiture, from a First Nations perspective piece to a Canadian landscape and more, festival coordinator Emma Hoch said there will be a wide representation of creativity and artistry on display throughout Friday and Saturday.
Also on tap will be children’s chalk activities, art workshops, live music, and enough chalk on hand for anyone who would like to create their own masterpieces in the ‘free-for-all’ area.
Hoch said she hopes visitors to the festival will feel inspired by watching the artists at work and want to join in the festivities themselves.
“There will be lots of space where people can feel free to create their own works,” said Hoch. “We want people to participate and feel they are part of the events.”
She also hopes people will visit Bridge Street several times throughout the two days so they can watch the progression from the time the artists begin outlining their pieces to the moment they add their finishing touches.
“It will be neat to watch, to see how the artists start and then to see the full-blown images when they’re done.”
The arts celebration, which is being funded in part by a federal Canada 150 grant, will kick off on Friday afternoon with an opening ceremony on the Bridge Street mainstage at 4:45 p.m., followed up by a Canada 150 New Brunswick play by Calithumpians, a theatre troupe based out of Fredericton. Eddie Chase & the Graffiti 4 will take to the stage at 6 p.m., Ray Legere at 8 p.m., and Janet Crawford, Ray Legere and Georges Hebert at 9:10 p.m.
Also on Friday evening, a First Nation drumming circle and vibration workshop is being hosted at the Bill Johnstone Memorial Park by Reg Roy and Christian Gallant from 5-7 p.m.
Hoch said an important aspect of the festival has been to incorporate Indigenous culture into the events, which not only celebrate Canada’s 150th, but its earlier history.
“We’re trying to have as much First Nation representation in the festival as possible,” she said.
Also on Friday evening, people can take part in a kite-making workshop at the Sackville United Church from 6-8 p.m., or a life legacy journaling workshop from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the activity centre at Bill Johnstone Memorial Park. A free movie in the park will get under way at dusk and there will also be a concert at Thunder & Lightening featuring Issac Vallentin, Camille Dlean and Nathan Richard.
Saturday’s festivities will start at 9 a.m. with the Sackville Farmers’ Market, followed up by a Drawing with Chalk Workshop with local artist Rachel Thornton at 1 or 2 p.m. Kids from ages 5-14 are welcome to drop in on Bridge Street for an hour-long session, which will end off with a “large collaborative piece” drawn by all the participants.
The music line-up on Saturday gets under way at 11 a.m. and includes, among many others, Stacey Read, Liz & Ben Duo, Bryon Chase, and Jon McKiel.
From 2-4 p.m., there will be a Sackville Kite Experience event at the visitor information centre to help celebrate Canada 150+ and the completion of the TransCanada Trail. Professional kite flyers will be on hand for the afternoon and everyone is invited to bring their kites to join in the fun. The event will also feature the “A One-Person Complete History of Canada Since Confederation” play, which will be presented at regular intervals between 2 and 4 p.m.
Hoch said people should watch for the chalk footprints throughout town that will direct people to the various events. She said there’s been a lot of interest peaked about the event and expects the festival to draw lots of visitors from throughout the region and beyond.
“It’s a big, free event so we’d love to see a lot of people come check it out.”
This weekend’s festival will include a large interactive 3D piece by Nova Scotia’s David Johnston, aka Chalkmaster Dave. Johnston, who travels across the country drawing three-dimensional sidewalk chalk art pieces at festivals and for corporate clients, will be a familiar face to Sackvillians, as he was commissioned by the town last year to create artwork for the Sackville Fall Fair.
François Pelletier, aka Chalky, makes his living as a pavement artist in Ottawa but has created masterpieces from one end of the globe to the other. Known as a modern-day Madonnaro, Pelletier focuses his work on reproductions of classical paintings. Hoch, being from Ottawa herself, said she has seen Pelletier’s traditional street portraitures and thought it would be a great fit for Sackville’s festival.
A recent fine arts grad from Mount Allison University, Emma Hassencahl is Wolastoqiyik, Maliseet, from Tobique First Nation. Specializing in painting and printmaking, her art explores the relationship between First Nations people and Canada. One of her recent works came to the attention of the organizers of Winnipeg’s Nuit Blanche. She was among a team of 13 artists from across the country who created a collaborative mosaic for the October 2016 event.
Jason Skinner is a mixed media artist living in Halifax. Skinner, who graduated from the NSCAD in 2011 with a bachelor of fine arts, with a major in painting, often takes his practice to the streets, engaging the public and the community as he creates public chalk murals on walkways. His work focuses on the relationships between people, community and nation.
Savannah Harris, a bachelor of fine arts graduate from Mount Allison University, creates art works focused on environmental issues and her connection with nature. Harris has recently had pieces included in exhibitions at Fundy National Park and in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
A visual artist and illustrator living in Sackville, Jeff Mann is a recent fine arts grad from Mount Allison University. Mann’s work focuses on the relationship between built and natural environments. Mann will be creating a “text-based piece” during this weekend’s festival, exploring the relationship with art and chalk.
Sackville artist Krista Gunn has a passion for beekeeping and flowers, and will be combining her love of the two as she creates a new piece for this weekend’s street chalk art festival on Bridge Street. Gunn graduated from Mount Allison University’s fine arts program in 2015 and has had her works shown in a number of exhibitions.
Angela Thibodeau is a visual artist from Sackville whose paintings, sketches and videos explore themes surrounding rural lifestyles, in particular the landscapes and geographical and natural surroundings of the Martitime provinces. Thibodeau, a regular artist featured in the annual Art Across the Marsh tour, graduated from Mount Allison University with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 2002.
Brittney Frazer is a Sackville artist who will be doing a light-hearted piece focused on Canadian symbols and landscapes that express the country’s distinct national identity during this weekend’s street chalk art festival.