The Whole Shebang

The Whole Shebang

Kingston Arts Council’s Cultural Animator, Irina Skvortsova, is one of the many participants in a collaborative, multidisciplinary art project, The Kingston Shebang, set to take place at the opening of the Tett Centre. The Kingston Shebang will celebrate the inauguration of the arts cluster by building bridges between the diverse artists and artistic organizations set to take up residency in the revitalized facility. The Shebang showcase will feature an expansive community oriented arts event that will engage artistic and local communities alike.

Irina is taking part in The Kingston Shebang as a tenant representative of the Kingston Arts Council and Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre. She’s found that her participation in the project has aligned serendipitously with the nature and purpose of her new position at the Kingston Arts Council, where she advocates for community arts practices and assists artists with applications to the Artists in the Community/Workplace grant program.

laying down cardsTaking part in The Kingston Shebang, allows Irina to witness the inspiring and exhilarating level of talent and interest in collaboration from the various artistic groups that are joining together. Making room for the artists to collaborate creatively in the stressful year leading up to the opening of the new arts Centre is just what the community needed. Engaging in dialogues about their new space and community through an artistic process has been a stimulating, community affirming, and powerful experience.

The Whole Shebanga City of Kingston initiative – began with an invitation to Andrea Nann, Artistic Director of Dreamwalker Dance Company, to share her Shebang process with the Tett. Andrea Nann’s Shebang rocess, which encourages artist and non-artist communities to foster their multidisciplinary sensitivity, seemed like a perfect fit for the highly anticipated completion of the new arts hub.

Andrea Nann began working with members of the Tett in the spring of 2013 with a series of movement and dance-based exercises. The initial workshops were meant to introduce different artists to each other through movement and vocalization. Some of the exercises revolved around starting and stopping group movement in unison, pairing people up to explore mirroring each other, environment exploration, and vocalization exercises. Throughout the process, Andrea has been working as a facilitator and guide, primarily observing, listening, and responding to the natural inclinations of the participants as they take shape in an artistic expression.

The current core members in The Kingston Shebang are Ebon Gage and Melissa Gilroy from Kingston School of Dance, Chantal Thompson and Terry Snider from Joe’s M.I.L.L., Harry Simons from Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre, Dorothy Young from Kingston Handloom Weavers and Spinners, Moyra Riley from Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club, Kyoko Ogoda and Alison Gowan from the broader musician community, and Irina Skvortsova who represents Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre and Kingston Arts Council.

Irina’s position with the Kingston Arts Council is that of community arts advocate and community art grant writing counselor. There are clear parallels between Kingston Arts Council’s recent initiative to hire a community art animator and the goals of The Whole Shebang. Both underline a new growing awareness of the power of building communities through the arts and recognize that co-creative artistic projects can simultaneously raise the profile of the arts and build communities. 

In keeping with the commitment towards community engagement and arts accessibility, the next stage of The Kingston Shebang involves engaging the greater artist and non-artist communities. The Shebang May sessions will include a public workshop on May 30th.  This free workshop will be open to anyone who wishes to experience the Shebang Process. Additionally on June 1st, from 3:30-5pm, the public is also invited to attend the Artist Open Studio session featuring artists from the Tett. Visitors will be able to see the artists’ work in progress and will have an opportunity to participate.

Dreamwalker’s The Whole Shebang has been successfully mounted in other cities in Ontario though The Kingston Shebang promises to be especially potent as it taps the reservoirs of talent, excitement, hopes, and dreams that are all linked to the newly revitalized Tett.