New Brunswick

Large-scale art festival in the works for 2020 in Saint John

An art conference and festival planned for fall 2020 could be the largest one on the East Coast, according to ArtsLink NB. Mark Burnett, the event co-ordinator for ArtsLink, said the conference will show artists how they can make a living through their work.

Arts Atlantic Festival and Conference will run from Oct. 14-18 next year

The Arts Atlantic Festival and Conference will be a four-day event in Saint John. (Submitted by Mark Burnett)

An art conference and festival planned for fall 2020 in Saint John could be the largest one on the East Coast, according to ArtsLink NB.

Mark Burnett, the event co-ordinator for ArtsLink, said the conference will show artists how they can make a living through their work.

"It's a good opportunity to get the gang together … and maybe learn from each other," Burnett said.

He said the conference will likely cost upwards of $100,000, with most funding being provided by various levels of government and business sponsors. 

The Arts Atlantic Festival and Conference will run from Oct. 14-18 with some free events open to the public.

It will open with a rooftop reception for its artists, delegates and dignitaries at a location to be determined.

Mark Burnett is the event co-ordinator for ArtsLink NB, an organization that works with artists in New Brunswick. (Submitted by Mark Burnett)

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, there will be speakers and group discussion for artists. Burnett said they're in the process of lining up speakers.  

In the evenings, there will be a festival open to the public featuring live painting, glass blowing, under-the-stars movies, music and taxidermy.

Burnett said the festival part of the event will allow the public to appreciate and enjoy how art is created. 

"I think there's a feeling that you have to look outside of our borders to get art that maybe is worthy of spending money on," Burnett said. "That's one thing that we really want to impress — that people are making art here."

Mark Burnett is the event co-ordinator for the Arts Atlantic Festival and Conference. It's scheduled for October of next year here in Saint John. 7:55

The conference and festival will take place across the city, with most events happening in uptown Saint John. It will come to a close on Sunday with a breakfast for artists.

Opportunity to bring artists together

Although there are other art festivals and symposiums on the East Coast, Burnett said there isn't one event that brings everyone together.

"We don't really have the opportunity to work together, as much as we might like to work together."

Burnett said the arts industry in the province is fragmented, with different organizations hosting their own smaller-scale conferences. He's hoping the Arts Atlantic Festival and Conference changes that, and attracts an international audience. 

"We want to make this an event that is even global in its scale." 

Burnett said the Arts Atlantic Festival and Conference will be an annual event occurring in a different cities in New Brunswick each year.

With files from Julia Wright