This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of The Beacon.
The eighth annual Antigonight: Art After Dark Festival took place between September 1 and 16, 2017. The Beacon spoke to ceramist and sculptor Fenn Martin: a co-founder of the festival and the 2017 artistic director. Until taking a position last fall with NSCAD University, Fenn Martin worked part-time as an Instructor with the StFX Art Department.
Martin described the festival’s relationship with the StFXAUT. Members of the StFX Art Department Faculty were essential to the festival getting off the ground. Faculty representatives, some of whom served on the board of directors of Antigonish Culture Alive (formerly GAPACC — Guysborough Antigonish Pictou Arts and Culture Council), were among those who identified the need for Antigonish to have an open, accessible nighttime art festival. Antigonight: Art After Dark was launched and it continues to grow.
In addition to helping to create the festival, StFXAUT members have been integral to its ongoing success. Art Department personnel have led projects. Music Department Faculty have performed at a number of festivals. Education Department Faculty and students have demonstrated projects. A 2012 project “One Giant Leap for Art” was a collaboration between the Physics Department and the Art Department, Librarians, Writing Centre staff, and StFX students have been featured as artists.
The collaboration continued throughout this year’s festival: Pamela Johnson, Program Teaching Staff with the Coady International Institute’s International Centre for Women’s Leadership, exhibited “Take(n) Space” a multimedia installation at the People’s Place Library on Friday, September 8. Abena Amoako-Tuffour, the International Student Engagement Coordinator with the StFX Department of Internationalization, read selections from her upcoming book, The Way We Hold On, at the Waffle Bus Stop on Saturday, September 16. “Print Prospects”, which featured the work of various Faculty Members, took place that evening in the StFX Art Department’s printmaking and painting studios. “One Minute Memories”, the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association’s video installation took place on the StFX Art Gallery Lawn.
StFXAUT Members volunteer with the festival. 2017 was the second straight year that Rhonda Semple volunteered. Speaking to The Beacon prior to the festival, Dr. Semple emphasized a belief that the festival plays an important role bringing together the Town and the University. It allows StFX Faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to meet people that they otherwise might not. [It] is also a chance for the University to give something back to the community. It’s good for the students to see that Antigonish is, as Dr. Semple put it “a real town”.
Rachel Power, StFX class of 2004 (BEd) and 2015 (MEd), is an Instructor with the StFX Education Department. Power also works as Arts Coordinator with Antigonish Culture Alive. Power echoed Dr. Semple’s statement concerning the importance of having have StFXAUT Members connect with other members of the Antigonish community. Power described the festival as “transformative” and said that Antigonight “invigorates and excites the creative minds on campus”.
To learn more about Antigonish Culture Alive and the Antigonight Art After Dark festival, please visit the Antigonish Culture Alive website.