I went to Contact in Toronto last spring (4th year for me I think) and loved it - again. Photo exhibitions, workshops. Almost 200 venues - galleries, clubs, restaurants, stores, filled by amazing work from international stars to groups of local artists. I talked with Guy Berube of La Petite Mort Gallery - he'd just been to Contact and was equally impressed. And he was thinking of something similar for Ottawa.
The result is Ottawa's first Festival-X - ten days this fall for photography. Exhibitions, lectures, and workshops - currently planned for a number of galleries in the area. In addition, it's hoped this will serve as a focus for all the local talent behind the lens to print up some favorites, and talk to their local bar/restaurant/shops about putting up some work during September.
Main events will be from September 20 to 30, with a kickoff in late May.
The Ottawa festival is being organized by Guy Berube, owner of La Petite Mort Gallery. His team includes Francesco Corsaro of the Ottawa School of Art, Pierre Dessureault of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and Khalia Scott of the School of Photographic Arts, Ottawa.
The following is the latest info I have, via Guy Berube.
Ottawa Festival of Photography 2007 - Le Festival de la Photographie d'Ottawa 2007
Festival X wishes to be a leading proponent of photography in Ottawa. Through the ongoing development of the festival and its programming,, we increase exposure and recognition for local, Canadian and international artists. Festival X is committed to advancing knowledge, creativity and innovation in photography in Ottawa.
This will be the first year that Festival X will be staged.
Festival X wishes to capture the attention of the city’s growing population, but rural and urban, and to capitalize on the growing interest in the visual arts. With no less than seven institutions in the downtown core that offer instruction in the photographic arts, accompanied by a growing selection of galleries that regularly feature photographers and photo-based art, the Festival X collective feels that now is the time to assemble a festival that will develop new audiences and sustain growth in photo-based art.
The festival format is one that is very popular and effective in Ottawa. Ottawa is, geographically, the largest city in Canada. The concentrated effort exerted in marketing and publicizing an event like a festival will work toward reaching as large an audience as possible. The festival format is a well-suited vehicle for advancing the festival’s mandate of increasing exposure and recognition of local, national and international artists. The concentrated timeline of the festival will mean that efforts in marketing and publicity will be highly targeted and time-sensitive. The lectures, workshops and symposia that the festival organizers hope to stage stand to benefit from the marketing and publicity that a festival of this type will generate.
Festival X is the collective effort of a group of people dedicated to the advancement of the field of photography and its artistic expression in the City of Ottawa. Ottawa is experiencing a period of growth and increased interest in the visual arts. Along with this growth is the accompanying boom in the downtown core of condominium and in-fill residences, which is bringing to the city a ready audience for visual arts institutions.
In this first year of Festival X, the collective will focus on a wide-ranging program of activities that are designed to attract as broad an audience as possible. With the mandate of the collective in mind, the activities featured in this festival will be the presentation of photo-based works and lectures, workshops and symposia. The festival will also hold 2 or 3 key events that will be designed to draw media attention, including the launch of the official website of the festival and an opening reception.
- May 28, 2007 Teaser event and launch of Festival X Website at La Petite Mort Gallery
- August 13, 2007 Marketing and Publicity launch / to be announced
- September 20, 2007 Opening night reception / to be announced
- September 21 – 29, 2007 Multi-venue festival activities / to be announced
- September 30, 2007 Closing night reception / to be announced
Festival X hopes to reach many audiences and create new ones. From the main audience, the arts community, will radiate the other communities that the festival will connect with and attract to its programming. Through targeted emails and cross promotional tools used between galleries and institutions associated and involved in the organization of the festival, the main audience will act as a marketing tool in itself, spreading the word through word of mouth and through passed-along promotional tools such as hand bills and gallery programs. More conventional marketing tools will be used as the opening date of the festival nears to attract new audiences.
Starting with a teaser event that will be held in May, the festival will work to draw media to this event that will announce the festival and its lineup of programming, along with the festival’s website, which will be used a marketing tool itself. The website will draw interested audiences with the programming line up and with offers of advance ticket sales to ticketed events, lectures and workshops. These visitors to the website will be solicited for their contact information, which will allow festival organizers to gage, early on, the potential audience numbers for the festival, as well as to capture valuable demographic information. With corporate media sponsorship and with a modest budget, the festival will also engage traditional print media to advertise the festivals programming.
To attract new and younger audiences, the festival will partner with existing arts institutions, like the Ottawa School of Art (OSA). The festival will partner with these institutions and with programs like the OSA’s Youth Outreach Program, a program that provides free art classes to at-risk and in-need children and youth in Ottawa. Connecting with at-risk and in-need children and youth will be part of the effort to reach out to a younger audience as well as providing employment to artist/instructors whose main focus is in photo-based art. Festival X will also engage teachers and education professionals within the various Ottawa school boards, encouraging the distribution of festival handbills to students in arts-focused schools and art classes within the school systems.
The Festival X Planning Committee Members are:
Guy Berube - Owner and Curator, La Petite Mort Gallery
Francesco Corsaro - Director ipo; Development Officer, Ottawa School of Art
Pierre Deserreault - Associate Curator, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
Jean Fortier - Vice President, Council for the Arts in Ottawa
Leslie Hossack - Amateur Photographer; Member, R.A. Photo Club
Khalia Scott - Director, School of the Photographic Arts Ottawa