By Rae Porter
The Winter Arts Festival lights up Victoria for the first time over February’s Family Day long weekend (Feb. 16-19) in 2024. Brought to you by the creative team behind Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF), the Winter Arts Festival is a free, multidisciplinary outdoor event, designed to both celebrate and connect diverse communities through inclusive, accessible experiences, storytelling and meaningful art. The first event was held in Vancouver in 2021 to much critical acclaim, winning the IDA Award of Excellence. It continues to evolve with the provision of public art, pop-up parties, light installations, all while acting as a seasonal counterweight to the summer’s eclectic mural festival.
The city-wide open-air galleries will feature 3D art, light projections, digital and augmented reality, and laser animation (to name just a few mediums). With the emphasis heavily on the value and importance of diverse arts and culture in our urban environments, the Winter Arts Festival is a joyful, eclectic experience.
Installations include Blanketing the City: Lighting the Way by Musqueam weaver and designer, Debra Sparrow in collaboration with VMF. The public art series transforms Coast Salish weaving patterns into large-scale murals and light installations, projecting them onto the exteriors of buildings. In Vancouver, the work has been displayed on iconic buildings such as Canada Place, BC Place and Telus Garden.
Another highlight of programming is PRESENT, a multidisciplinary exhibition exploring the ways in which language and music can be used to create and communicate meaning. Inspired by the poem “A Gap” by Naila Keleta-Mae and curated by Jamaican artist Tafui, PRESENT celebrates the creativity of the African and Caribbean diaspora, and features work by Montreal, Jamaica, Vancouver, and Waterloo-based artists and designers.
Victoria’s own Monkey C Interactive, a duo otherwise known as David Parfitt and Scott Amos, will also be featured in February. Known for large-scale interactive installations such as Yates Street Parkade’s Musical Railings, the talented pair will bring Pythagorhythm, an interactive, multi-user music creation installation that inspires creativity and collaboration for up to 12 budding musicians.
With an all-ages Hub, a fully licensed bar and free daily live entertainment, the Winter Arts Festival is a welcomed bright spot upon Victoria’s winter landscape. For further information, head to winterartsfest.com.