York talent extravaganza aims to raise environmental awareness

Snappy performances, engaging participatory workshops, fun community day events and exciting exhibits will show off York University’s talent at the 10th annual Eco-Art & Media Festival. The festival begins on Feb. 27 and continues to March 5.

Work by more than 75 people from all areas of York will be on display during the festival. The festival’s aim is to raise awareness about environmental and social issues.

The kick-off to the week-long talent extravaganza will be a visual art exhibition in Gallery 354, located in room 354 of the Lumbers Bldg. This year’s visual art exhibition features cherished pieces from a number of artists including the late dian marino, founder of the festival, and Ann Pineault, the festival’s first coordinator. Films, videos and new media work will also be shown in Gallery 354, along with displays by students from the FES Cultural Production Workshop.

This year’s festival theme, “Movement and Memory – path, presence, projections”, is about remembering mankind’s unique environmental histories and expressing and sharing this knowledge through diverse art and media. Through the festival, the organizers will explore and reflect on the path of humans as activists, artists and thinkers. The presences that inhabit art and activism, and the vision of change that mankind can project will also be examined in the festival.

An organizing team of students from the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) and the Graduate Program in Communication & Culture is putting the final touches on the seven-day event. “Wonderful,” is how Janine MacLeod, first-year MES student and a festival coordinator, described this year’s lineup of submissions. MacLeod believes “artistic expression is a really important mechanism for generating awareness around environmental and social issues.”

CultureLink, a non-profit community organization that helps immigrants and refugees in Toronto, will host a lively community day event on Sunday, Feb. 29, and cabaret performances will close the festival at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St. West, Toronto) on the evening of Friday, March 5. (See the full festival program located on the Eco-Art and Media Festival Web site.)

The 10-year anniversary is a landmark opportunity to thank all the creative talent that contributed to the festival in the past. Invitations have gone out to past coordinators, who are now spread across the country, and a special tribute to marino and Pineault is planned.

John Vainstein, coordinator of FES’ Wild Garden Media Centre, says the vision of marino and Pineault encouraged people to “embrace the visual arts as a forum for the expression of environmental and social activism which is just as valid as the written word.”

Vainstein said, “As in the past years, I’m sure this year’s festival will offer audiences a beautiful and diverse, profound and provocative collection of creative work.”

The Faculty of Fine Arts and the graduate programs of Communication & Culture and Interdisciplinary Studies are also sponsors of the festival. For more information, please contact the festival coordinators at ecoart@yorku.ca. To read more about Gallery 354, click here.

 This article was supplied to YFile by Michelle Osborne, a first-year MES student.