Paint Spot's Annual Art Walk
Art Walk recently took place in Edmonton, Canada. It is eight blocks of unrestrained creativity with around 450 artists and craftspeople - Graffiti, pop, surrealism, art nouveau, impressionism, and just plain cool looking items. Festival producer, and owner of the Paint Spot, Kim Fjordbotten, has been there since the beginning in 1995. In its 22nd year, Art Walk brings waves of symbolic communication of imagination in the public realm. The Edmonton Journal said “Kim deserves credit for institutionalizing, coordinating and making possible something our bylaws-obsessed local reality would otherwise instinctively stand in the way of in the name of law and boredom.”
Encouragement and opportunity are a big part of what draws crowds and artists to the festival. Artists usually have to turn to either the online storefront, or just hope for a gallery show, Art Walk provides a space for everyone to equally display the fruits of their labour.
Kim hopes someday Art Walk won’t just be for a weekend in July, but for the entire summer. She makes a strong case – “It’s an important part of the community. It takes the art from out of the studios and the closets and the garden sheds and brings both the work and the artists to where the people are. I call myself a mother bear sometimes, because I think art often gets relegated to frivolous or looked at as the first thing we can cut because it’s not that important. For those of us in the arts to articulate why it is important is really hard. People see it as it’s nice, or it’s enjoyable, or it’s stress relieving. To me, it’s the cornerstone of our society.”