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Graffiti to colour Kootenay Festival

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
June 26th, 2013

Unlike other community organizations and events, the Kootenay Festival is bucking tradition by actually wanting graffiti.

Youth spokesperson and volunteer Leeza Perehudoff said the festival was looking for a way to better engage local youth – and stumbled upon an idea that should fascinate young and old alike.

“I’ve been volunteering for the Kootenay Festival for all of its three years so far, and I’ve really noticed a gap in youth participation,” said the 17-year-old Stanley Humphries student. “We’ve managed to brainstorm and come up with an idea I’m really excited about.”

“We” in this case would refer to festival chair  Audrey Maxwell Polovnikoff and volunteers John Kannigan, Saad Waseem, Tristan Llewellyn and Susan Olheiser, along with financial support and input from the Columbia Basin Trust (Youth Action Grant).

Perehudoff said they plan to have a deejay (Waseem) perform while graffiti artists showcase their talents – not on walls or buildings, but rather on massive canvasses brought in for just this purpose.

“There are a lot of artists in the Kootenays,” she said. “We want to show a really taboo form of art in a way that embraces older generations as well, rather than being disrespectful.

“Saad’s job is to provide inspiration to artists, because we believe art inspires music and music inspires art – and that’s on top of the gorgeous natural backdrop that should provide inspiration in its own right.”

Called Creative Blendz, the performance art presentation combining music and non-traditional painting will serve as a grand finale for the festival, running from 6 p.m. to festival closing at 7 p.m.

Perehudoff said revellers can expect more than just spray-painted tags and the kind of amateur graffiti one generally encounters – the festival is looking to round up serious talent to really underline the potential and beauty of this unique underground art form.

“We’re trying to do some reconnaissance work with local art teachers and skateboard shops – putting feelers out to see who might be interested,” she said (stay tuned to The Source for more information about a pending Creative Blendz Facebook page, contests and other fun opportunities gearing up to the festival itself).

“We really think this was the missing component to the Kootenay Festival so far. We really want youth to come out and celebrate with us and enjoy all the festival has to offer.”

The festival will be held July 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. off Heritage Way in Castlegar (across the highway from the airport) with admission set at just $2.

For more information, visit www.kootenayfestival.com

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