Artsweek unites city and campus communities for celebration of arts

Asked to describe Artsweek, Program Director Laurel Paluck says that it is “bold, quiet, intense, playful, serious, mysterious, intelligent, delirious, magical, practical, emotional, curious, demanding, rewarding…”

And that’s her just getting warmed up.

“Artsweek is a thought-provoking, soul-evoking journey into the heart of Peterborough,” she adds.

More specifically, it is Peterborough’s annual festival of the arts—a ten day, multi-disciplinary showcase of creativity that began as part of the City’s Centennial Celebrations in 2005. It is an annual event that strives to bring new work to new audiences, support original creation by local artists, and celebrate Peterborough as a creative community.

Best of all, it is a 100% free festival.

This is the festival’s 11th installment—and it gets more ambitious every year. This season features 30 projects involving almost 100 outstanding artists in a celebration of original, home-grown works showcased in many exciting Artsweek Signature Programs.

Your best bet to view all the action is to check out the schedules and program at, your online home for all things Artsweek.  Here are just a few teasers from the many planned events and installations.

WORDS captures the often elusive art of language in new and imaginative ways. The Take Out Poetry Cart (curated by Ziysah von Bieberstein) will serve up poems to go with any occasion (a limerick for your toddler? A birthday poem for your boss? A sonnet for your sweetie?). Heliotrope (by Wendy Trusler) offers up words burned into gorgeous reclaimed wood, evoking themes of new beginnings. Words Not Bombs (by Food Not Bombs) brings together witty verse and good food to feed both the body and the soul—a poetry slam that shouldn’t be missed. Storefront Stories (by Kate Story) will create a piece of literature using one sentence per George Street storefront, that can be read by passersby travelling north-south between Hunter and Simcoe Streets. Meanwhile, cafés across the downtown will be wrapping eCityLit “micro-literature” sleeves of short poetry and prose around their cups. This is but a taste of the many linguistic treats that Artsweek will dish up!

BLINK on Charlotte showcases eight commissioned artists working in a variety of media and styles to transform Charlotte Street storefronts and our downtown streetscape into works of art.  Moonflowers (Laura Madera) will be a massive, glow-in-the-dark botanical watercolour of morning glories climbing from the ground floor windows of LLF Lawyers into the upper level windows. Patrick Moore’s How to Honour a Tree presents an artistic vision of a tree growing within the multi-storey windows of Kawartha Cardiology Clinic, inspiring viewers to reflect on the nobility and importance of our trees. Rabbits vs. Monsters (Ann Jaeger) describes and helps us process the 21st century diet of collective trauma, powerlessness, and juxtaposed banal entertainment, through large black and white acrylic paintings with collage and hand-stitching on tarp, viewed through the windows of the new Chasing the Cheese store. All eight pieces can be viewed as part of a guided tour and are also available for viewing throughout the entire festival.

Pop-Up Arts will surprise people across the city with installations in the most unexpected locations.

To the River (Shannon Taylor) will be both contemplative and riveting—a live, sound-based performance featuring the London Street footbridge as a percussive instrument around which performers create a melodic soundscape of drifting vocal harmonies answering the motion of wind and water. Nibi/Maa’ (Sarah DeCarlo and Amro Khito) is both a short film and an opportunity to share an in-canoe chat with the artists as they recount the first conversations between two youths, one First Nations and one Syrian, embarking on a canoe ride across our shared waters (Nibi / Maa’). These are just two of many Pop Up Arts projects in store.

Porchapalooza invites you to take a tour of East City verandahs and savour a movable feast of live music: classical, blues, alternative folk, root soul and cajun tunes performed by Rick Fines, Evangeline Gentle, Paul Clark White, Pays d’en Haut, High & Lonesome (Bobby Watson & Kate Kelly), and The 3 Martinis. Porchapalooza is curated by Washboard Hank & Sweet Muriel.

Things wrap up with New Moon Afternoon, the Artsweek grand finale. This is a “create your own adventure event” as the Artsweek crew transforms Millennium Park into a treasure trove full of exciting art happenings. Join an “art attack,” bring a picnic basket and blanket, relax and enjoy an early autumn day by the water. Get your circus on, see the unicycles square dance, make shadow puppets, and so much more.

Artsweek is a truly inclusive event, bringing together both the Peterborough and Trent communities in an artistic celebration that unites us all.

“There are about 100 artists, 80 businesses and organizations and 50 or more volunteers who help out with Artsweek,” notes Electric City Culture Council Executive Director and Artsweek Manager, Su Ditta. “We call it ‘Planet Artsweek’ and it is astonishing how many of them are Trent graduates or Trent students.

There are Artsweek events at Traill College and the entire festival brings “town and gown” together for 10 days of free cultural events!

Its a great way to get to know the downtown, see Millennium Park and check out the local arts scene.”