The Department of Illumination presents ALVAR: an ecologically-inspired arts festival at Picton’s Base31. Alvar describes a fascinating and globally rare ecosystem found in Prince Edward County and other regions around the Great Lakes. Through a variety of creative expressions the artists are paying homage to this precious ecology, characterized by its limestone plain, thin soil and sparse grassland vegetation, a habitat supporting a host of rare plants and animals.
Why choose Alvar as artistic inspiration? As The Department of Illumination celebrates its tenth anniversary year, the organization is increasingly leaning in to environmental messaging in its work. “Art is an ideal way to share our passion for the natural world” says Artistic Director Krista Dalby. “Once you fall in love with nature, you can’t help but want to conserve it.”
After conducting hands-on field research and observation at local alvar sites, participating artists have created large-scale artworks which will be exhibited outdoors at Base31. Artists are Nella Casson, Krista Dalby, Andrea Piller, Chrissy Poitras, Victoria Taylor | VTLA Studio, Kyle Topping and Bay Woodyard. In addition to the visual arts, there will be hands-on nature exploration with Cheryl Chapman of NatureHood-PEPtBO, sunrise dance parties with Arwyn Carpenter, and live music from Roper & Roper. Multi-instrumentalist Teilhard Frost from Wolfe Island will lead workshops in body percussion and the history of musical instruments, as well as performing his unique brand of non-electric, old-time music of the people. Moira Gaddes will explore art and earth work as creation, reflecting on relationships and responsibilities to the land and soil.
ALVAR is free to attend, although donations are welcome. The Department of Illumination is hosting a sneak-peek fundraiser on Friday August 19 with live music from amber cello featuring violin, and everyone’s favourite salty/sweet combo, Jamie Kennedy Fries and Lemonade Dave, as well as treats from Metula Israeli Market Fare. This fundraiser is part of THE NEXT TEN, a campaign to ensure the arts organization’s long-term sustainability. Tickets are limited and are available now on Eventbrite.
Base31 is a platform for creative collaboration on the grounds of a former WWII airbase in Picton, Ontario. An evolving fusion of art, ecology, heritage, industry and innovation, Base31 invites the community to peer into its past and co-create its future.
The Department of Illumination is a not-for-profit organization aiming to bring joy and creativity to the people of Prince Edward County through festivals, workshops and other artistic events.