The Works Art & Design Festival

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The Works Art & Design Festival is a thirteen day celebration held at the end of June and the beginning of July in downtown Edmonton, Canada. The festival displays the work of artists and designers from across Canada as well as featured exhibits from international presenters.


The Works has the mandate to promote visual art and design among the public at large and the artistic community by developing, producing and marketing special projects, programs and events that elicit the continued financial support of sponsors in the public and private sectors and the professional support of the artistic community.

The Works International Visual Arts Society (est.1981) produces The Works Art & Design Festival (est.1986) in downtown Edmonton, a free event that draws an audience of over 372,000 people of all ages and interests, and offers over 260 exhibits and special events to the public, every summer. The Society also provides executive directorship for The Art & Design in Public Places Program. The Places was launched in 1999 as a community-based, multi-partner initiative designed to help revitalize Edmonton's downtown through placement of publicly funded works of art.

Each year The Works Art & Design Festival presents free exhibits in over 30 venues around Edmonton's downtown core, such as restaurants, vacant retail spaces, warehouses, city parks, and office building lobbies. Artworks range from the traditional (ceramics, painting, sculpture) to the contemporary (furniture design, site installations, graffiti) to the cutting edge (interactive new media installations, sonic installations).

The Works Art & Design Festival's main festival site is Sir Winston Churchill Square, across from Edmonton's City Hall and the Stanley A. Milner Library. Each year, the square's concrete plaza is filled with dozens of tents, which sell handmade Canadian artwork and local/international cuisine. The Works Stage features a wide variety of musical acts from around the globe and a wide array of genres, including avant-garde and sonic art performances. The Works Street Stage is well known for its exciting Canada Day performances, which draw tens of thousands of people every year. Families can also make crafts at the Festival's Family Programs tent. The Works places an emphasis on interactive and large-scale public installations, encouraging its audience to contribute to community public artworks, watch artist demonstrations, and participate in educational workshops.


The Festival exhibits the work of well-known and awarding-winning artists as well as the work of emerging and student artists. Any artist or designer may apply to participate in the Festival during its annual Call to Enter in August. Artists, designers, and curators are also invited directly to participate in the Festival or may be commissioned to do a special project. The Festival has presented artworks from every continent, but the majority of its content is Canadian.

Each year, The Works covers over one square mile of downtown Edmonton with art, design, performances, installations and musical acts. The most recognizable feature of the festival are its Gateways, two large arches that border the Festival's north and south entrance. Gateway designers are selected as one of the Festival's featured artists, along with Big Tent artists and other artists featured on Churchill Square.

Festival 2012[edit]

The Works Gateways[edit]

- Collaborative Gateway Project, En Masse (Fred Caron, Jason Botkin)

The Works Big Tent[edit]

- Indigeneity, Terrance Houle, Jesica Campbell, Christiana Latham, Angela Shenstead, Brittney BearHat, Richelle BearHat, Amy Malbeuf, and Tasha Aphonse

- PopSex!, Curated by Michael Taylor and Annette Timm with Rainer Herm (Magnus-Hirschfeld-Society)

2012 Artists[edit]

- But, Is It Art?, Anna Banana

- Sisters, Jeannie and Jodie Vandekerkhove with Adam Tindale

- Youth Art Tipi, Otênikân Leadership Academy

- Memorial Retrospective, Hank Zyp

- Collaborative Mural, Wil Yee

- Re Play-Composing The Works, Ben Sures

- Measuring a Year, Margie Davidson

- Obsession, Various Artists

- Edmonton Public Schools Grade 12 Best of High School Portfolio Exhibit

- Canada Day Poster Exhibition

- U of A Visual Arts Student Association Graduation Show

- Letters To, Kelsey Stephenson

- The Art of Creative Arts Therapists, W(holy!) Collective

- Elegy: A Meditation on Mortality, Sandra Vida

- Information Agent, Lindsay Brandon

- Palimpsest, Natali Rodrigues

- Collaborative Spectrum Show, Ab-straKt 373

- Triboelectric Effect, Lucille Frost

- The '59 Bucks, Robert Harpin and Adriean Koleric

- Where We Stand, Artists from the Boyle Street Community

- Untitled, Korapin Chaotakoongite

- It's Good To Have Friends When You Make Sculpture, Bianca Khan and Linda Maines

- Untitled, Aaron Sidorenko

- Tradigital Pieces, Guru Digital Arts College Students and Faculty

- Untitled Glasswork, Barbara Rumberger

- Surfacing, Susan Thorpe

- pARTnership Gallery, Edmonton Public School Board Students

- Voyageur Lobstick Project, Leah Dorion

- Skylines and Little Fears, Jill Nuckles and Laura O'Connor

- Pulp Paper Pages, Canadian Bookbinders and Book Arts Guild

- Coming Up Next, Various Artists

- Altar/Alter, ArtsHab

- Our West II, Jonathan Havelock

- Message To: The Edmonton Remand Centre Newspaper, Lindsay Bond

- Mouth and Duet, Andrew Forster

- The Flood, Alexander Stewart and Sergio Serrano

- Symbiosis 24th Annual Membership Exhibition & Sale, Harcourt House Artist-Run Centre

- Naked, Various Artists

- Coming of Age: the Graduates, Various Artists, Visual Arts Alberta Association Graduation Gallery

- Edmonton, the Sunny Side, Jason Blower

- Micropolis 2.0, Allison Moore and Arthur Desmarteaux

- New Eyes: Bridge Songs 2012, Dave von Bieker and Cynthia Sentara

- Otherness, Diane Plasse, Doris Charest, Stephen Fouquet, Shoko César and Yves Caron

- Art Cornucopia, Various Artist

- Quotationalism, Various Artist

- New Terrain: Landscapes in Pastel, Catherine Compton, Judy Martin, and David Shkolny

Festival 2011[edit]

The Works Gateways[edit]

- Not So Current Events, by Ken Webb, Rick Gorenko

The Works Big Tent[edit]

- Sonny Assu

- Maskiihkiy - Four Medicine Powers, Leah Dorion

- The Life and Times of Buffalo Boy, Adrian Stimson

2011 Artists[edit]

- Sometimes, Things are Exactly as They Appear, Ian Johnston

- Current, Lindsay Brandon

- Mirage, Olivia Chow and Lisa Supruniuk

- The Path of a Stir Stick, Ben Sures

- Interconnectedness of Things; Yin & Yang, Jan Novotny

- Strathcona Refineries/August 2010, Johnathan Martin-Demoor

- Edmonton Public Schools Grade 12 Best of High School Portfolio Award Exhibit

- Abstract Thinking, Various Artists

- Canada Day Poster Exhibition

- Constructions, Contemporary Norwegian Arts and Crafts

- The Power of the Natural World, Leah Dorion

- Jackson 2Bears

- Untitled, Tim Rechner and Lucy the Elephant

- Stay Tuned, Tim Rechner and Richard Gorenko

- Energy Ab-straKt 373

- Wax and Wane, Jessica McCoy

- Metis/Sage, David Garneau

- Recent Works, Glenn Guillet

- Digital Media (and Zombie) Showcase, Guru Digital Arts College

- Bee Kingdom I, Various Artists

- pARTnership Gallery, Edmonton public Schools

- Perambulate, Kay Burns

- Streaming, Mile Zero Dance

- Bee Kingdom II, Various Artists

- In the Red: Creation Deficit, Various Artists

- Coming Up Next, Various Artists

- Chill, ArtsHab Project 1

- Vitulazio, Barbara K. Prokop

- RE:Charged, Harcourt House Gallery

- Charges Pending: 19th Annual Naked Exhibition, Various Artists

- Energize, Visual Arts Alberta Association Gallery

- An Etching Plate Feels No Pain, Denise Hawrysio, Pam Baergen, Benjamin Lemphers, and TJ McLachlan

- Progress, Pam Baergen, Benjamin Lemphers and TJ McLachlan

- Artrageous, Frankie, Monica Dery, Sharon Lynn Williams, Sarah Michaed Nicole Bugeaud

- Size Doesn't Matter, Spyder Yardley Jones

Special Events/Programs[edit]

The Works Canadian Aboriginal Artist Program[edit]

In 2009, The Works launched The Works Canadian Aboriginal Artist Program to highlight the artistic contributions that contemporary Aboriginal artists make to visual culture. Now in its third year, the program, supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, has showcased the work of established, emerging, and celebrated Aboriginal artists from across the country. Participating artists are selected for their response to social and environmental issues that affect all Canadians, but especially its Native community. The Programs artists try to describe, from the perspective of Aboriginal Canadians, some of the energies that exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.

The "Works With Jazz" Program[edit]

The "Works With Jazz" Program is a one of a kind cooperative program between The Works Art & Design Festival and The Edmonton Jazz Festival, The "Works with Jazz" Program features jazz and art performances by professional, emerging musicians and visual artists. 2013 Jazz Festival performances will be on The Works Stage from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, June 21 and June 24 to 28.

The Works Roving Reception[edit]

Roving Receptions were introduced in 2015 as a daily event to feature various exhibits and artists. In 2016, the Roving Reception format was adapted to a one night event, with a tour led by the Executive Artistic Director through several of The Works Feature Exhibits including The Winspear Centre, Edmonton City Hall, and Churchill Square. Each exhibit was introduced by the artist(s) or curator and included refreshments and a door prize concluding the tour.

The Works 124th Street Gallery Tour[edit]

In 2016 The Works introduced a gallery tour of several prominent galleries along Edmonton's 124th Street Arts District including Bugera Matheson Gallery, Peter Robertson Gallery, The Front Gallery, Scott Gallery, and Lotus Art Gallery. At each stop the tour was given the chance to view the art, followed by a discussion led by tour guides or talks by the artists.

Festival Dates[edit]

  • 28th Annual Works Art & Design Festival will run from June 20 to July 2, 2013.
  • 27th Annual Works Art & Design Festival was from June 21 to July 3, 2012.
  • 26th Annual Works Art & Design Festival was from June 23 to July 5, 2011.
  • 25th Annual Works Art & Design Festival was from June 25 to July 7, 2010.
  • 24th annual Works Art & Design Festival was from June 19 to July 1, 2009.
  • 23rd Annual Works Art & Design Festival was from June 21 to July 2, 2008.
  • 22nd Annual Works Art & Design Festival was from June 22 to July 4, 2007.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]