Sunday, July 12, 2015

Arts: KOTE 2015 was bigger, better, more

No, I didn't get to EVERY  event on the Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) 2015 schedule, though I did manage to perform on one (that requires a separate post).
Indeed, it seems that is the objective of multi-venue, multi-event festivals such as KOTE - to satiate and even obliterate the appetite of the most fervent "artophiles"

And in that respect, the Festival, staged for the last eight years with at best minimal (albeit appreciated) corporate and public, as in Government, support, has again succeeded. Over 34 exhibitions and performances, and several combinations of the two at such disparate capital city locations as the Waterfront, and the heights of Jacks Hill (no, I unfortunately didn't get either of those). In between, an almost profligate indulgence of every imaginable style and philosophy, from the quirky and savagely funny explorations of the reclusive David Marchand (another post) to the fashion drawings of Ayanna Dixon (shown here) and many more (I've barely even scratched the photography).

Co-ordinator Enola Williams, who also finds time to run Redbones the Blues Café, the Festival's epicenter and opening night venue, said the aim was to have "art appreciated by as wide a cross-section of persons as possible, to remove barriers."

Not sure what the downtown art/architecture walk (based on the famous 1891 World's Fair) did to attract the ghetto Everyman, but audience participation at the events I caught was both diverse and robust.
And, Williams points out, persons overseas are now paying attention, not least a New Zealand couple who initially had no plans to visit Kingston, based on those persistent (but not always to be dismissed) crime rumours, but who ended up staying past their intended time as they took in all that Kingston's art and culture had to offer over the 10 days.

But, Williams assures, even if KOTE blows up internationally (and locally), the intent and the execution will remain the same. Pack in an amazing array of great art and culture expositions into whichever city venues are receptive and capable, and leave patrons to make their minds up about what to take in.

its a magic formula, and long may it live


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