Vines Art Festival is Rooted in Activism, Accessibility and Connection

Wednesday 08th, August 2018 / 14:19
by Yasmine Shemesh

Vines Art Festival artistic director Heather Lamoureux.

VANCOUVER – With a mandate dedicated to environmental justice by way of a wide range of inspired art and performance, the Vines Art Festival is at once a display of public art and a platform for awareness.

“Vines has grown from a small afternoon of art sharing at Trout Lake Park in August of 2015 into a 10 day festival at seven parks throughout Vancouver,” says artistic director Heather Lamoureux.

The annual free all-ages festival, now in its fourth iteration, brings together artists, environmentalists, and the general public in an engaging way.

“The intention was and is to bring thought provoking art to the people in public space for free, making public performance more accessible in this city, and providing the opportunity for audience to stumble upon creativity,” Lamoureux says. “We focus on celebrating the Earth, centering Indigenous voices, uncovering truths, telling stories, and connecting artists to support one another in their work.”

Artivism — a term that refers to the union of art and activism —is a central theme to Vines. “We support outspoken and creative multidisciplinary artists with the ability to express movements of social and environmental justice in their performances and installations,” Lamoureux adds. “We present work on the land on ‘earthstages’ with minimal carbon footprint to take care of the earth while hosting the festival. Much of the work is site specific.”

More than 70 performing and visual artists are featured at the festival this year, presenting art installations, dance performances, workshops, live music, and more. Artists of note include Kimmortal, Missy D, Old Soul Rebel, Cease Wyss, and Valeen Jules. One of the most anticipated events at the festival this year, though, is Resilient Roots — a project that pairs established and emerging Indigenous artists together in a mentoring partnership to produce never-before-seen works that will be performed at Trout Lake on August 17 and 18. One of the participating pairs in this project include street musician and slam poet Jaz Whitford and award-winning, multi-genre composer, musician, and singer Sandy Scofield.

“Resilient Roots is the heart of Vines Art Festival,” says Lamoureux. “Bringing together emerging Indigenous artists who are also bearing their souls on the frontline grassroots movements, speaking out against the Pipelines and resource extraction, and combining art with activism.”

Vines Art Festival takes place at various parks throughout Vancouver from August 8-19.

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