By Lawrence Belanger
Local Journalism Initiative
The Bishop’s University Arts Fest’s 6th Edition is ongoing this week, having started on March 25 and running to April 1. The annual multidisciplinary event is organized by the University’s Arts Administration students, and aims to celebrate and share the arts. The Record spoke with Caleb Stemp and Alexis Paquin, the students who lead the 2023 organization team for the festival, during a “Food Pop-Up” held at Encounter Student Ministries, as part of the festival on the 28th.
“Our main goal this year was to make a festival that we found much more attractive to our generation and much more relatable,” explains Paquin. “That’s why we went with the themes [of] psychedelia, street art and technology,” believing these three ideas represented that goal.
Another major aim of the organizer’s planning the festival was to expose more people to a broad range of artistic disciplines. They planned “much more events,” for example, covering more disciplines and activities, including video games, with a VR exhibit; and public art, with a graffiti and mandala workshop.
According to Paquin, the first thing people think of when someone mentions art, is traditional visual arts, like paintings. “A lot of people think that art is niche,” he laments. Paquin sought to use the festival this year to push back against this popular view.
Stemp wants art to be accessible and communal, instead of walled off or only for a few. In a press release, Stemp describes the festival as “an opportunity for the Bishop’s University and Champlain College student body, faculty and staff, [as well as] the Lennoxville and Sherbrooke communities,” to come together to create opportunities for learning and sharing and celebrate arts & culture.
Paquin emphasizes that the festival is open to the Lennoxville and Sherbrooke community at large, to promote artistic practices not just on campus.
At the pop-up, Matéo Cambolive, the festival’s Artistic Advisor, echoes the co-directors comments, stating that he wanted to ensure a variety of different events covering many disciplines and fields.
Paquin wants people to see that art represents more than just “music, movies, and drawings.”
“I kind of wanted to break the barrier and open people’s minds as to what art with a ‘Big A’ is, because it’s multidisciplinary,” explains Paquin. “It includes dance and music and includes video games, it can be “food and represent so many more things.”
The Food Pop-up yesterday featured homemade pasta from Tristan Croteau, a local chef. Speaking between preparing bowls of tortellini, Croteau describes his passion for cooking and how he got involved in the festival.
“I’ve been cooking all my life just started this pasta business, and Alex really wanted me to showcase what I’m doing,” so they organized the food pop-up. Although Tuesday’s food event was held off-campus, Croteau said they were offered use of the Christian student group’s kitchen after space on campus fell through.
The 2023 festival’s team, led by Co-Directors Stemp and Paquin, has been working for the past six months on building the festival, reaching out to various Bishop’s community members and beyond to create a rounded line-up of paid and free events, held across different parts of the University campus.
Reflecting its multidisciplinary nature, the festival brings together many different parts of the school, such as the Stargazing, Seafaring, and Storytelling event told by Dr. Lana Radloff, professor of Classical Studies; on Wednesday, or Centennial Theatre hosting the Bishop’s University Film Festival on Friday.
Other remaining festival events include a Mushroom Workshop; the event “Transcending the Self and Transforming Consciousness: A Workshop on Art, Technology, and Spirituality” by Dr. Shoshannah Bryn Jones Square, assistant professor in the Department of English; and the Dream Street Dance Battle hosted by Herb Herbz in collaboration with the BU Dance Club.
Ticket passes are available on lepointdevente.com at $17 for students and seniors, while general admission is $25. Passes include access to paid events, such as the Bishop’s University Film Festival After-Party and the Dream Street Dance Battle, while all other events are free. Tickets can also be bought individually at the door, in cash only. More information can be found on the festival’s social media, buartsfestival, on Facebook & Instagram.