The Works Art & Design Festival shifts ‘paradigms’ at the legislature

Click to play video 'Take in the Works Art & Design Festival at the Alberta Legislature' Take in the Works Art & Design Festival at the Alberta Legislature
Enjoy 13 days of visual art and design at this free festival, which features over 40 exhibits at Capital Plaza on the Alberta Legislature grounds. Executive Artistic Director Amber Rooke, and artist Emmanuel Osahor share the details on this year's theme – Jun 21, 2018

Lots of excitement is expected down at the Alberta Legislature grounds as this year’s Works Art & Design Festival kicks off Edmonton’s outdoor summer festival season on Thursday.

The theme for the festival this year is “Paradigm,” so artistic director Amber Rooke said visitors should expect to see pieces that challenge visual perceptions, including “some really interesting complete transformations of some small spaces.”

The free festival is usually based out of Churchill Square, but this year, the festival had to make way for construction.

READ MORE: Edmonton planners think about moving downtown festivals long-term

Rooke admits that Capital Plaza at the Federal Building downtown has presented some logistical challenges. But there have been opportunities, too.

“So we’ve got a nice fountain, for example, running through the festival, and it’s a granite plaza instead of a concrete plaza,” said Rooke.

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“I think from the viewer’s perspective it’ll be pretty similar. We’re running a lot of the same programs but again, just the site itself has a lot of advantages with audience coming in.”

Rooke said there’s also a grassy hill near the live music stage, perfect for these warm summer nights.

Another plus to the new locale was the open, flat plaza, making lots of room for large installation pieces, including “In Search of Eden” by Emmanuel Osahor.

“First thing you’re going to think is ‘Oh man, more construction in Edmonton’ because it’s a scaffold tower,” Rooke said. “But once you come and take a look inside, the space is totally transformed. So you see a couple of large photo murals, as well as a living wall of native Edmonton plants, so plants you might find in the river valley.”

And Rooke added there’s another paradigm shift at the legislature.

“This is also going to be the very first time you can legally drink a beer on Capital Plaza at the legislature grounds, so that’s something,” she laughed.

READ MORE: Edmonton 2018 summer festivals and events

Except for a few ticketed events, the Works is free, and goes until July 3.