“A community initiative gets the community involved,” said G. Scott MacLeod as we talked outside Shaïka Café. His words effectively describe NDG Arts Week, an upcoming outdoor festival that celebrates the cultural landscape of its namesake neighbourhood. The fest kicks off tonight with a block party and BBQ at the NDG Food Depot (2121 Oxford).
MacLeod and co-coordinator Paul Cargnello, both local artists, are on the verge of kicking off the festival’s third installment, offering eclectic multimedia fun from all corners of NDG/Côte-des-Neiges, making it easy for fest-goers to cherry-pick events that cater to their tastes.
On Saturday Aug. 18, social-media-savvy folks are invited to join an Instagram Tour down Sherbrooke, taking filter-iffic snapshots along the way. Later that evening, after 6 p.m., Samedi in the Park promises to attract the jovial music lovers among us as Élage Diouf, Nomadic Massive and more take the stage in Girouard Park, making it one of the week’s best bets.
Sunday, head to All the Rage Craft Fair at Centre le Manoir (5319 Notre-Dame-de-Grâce) to peruse handcrafts, vintage clothing and new pieces by local designers. The festival’s also planned an afternoon of family-friendly activities and workshops for children on-site, including a paper-maché monster-making party, music workshop and story hour. Both run from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
All week, a bevy of local restos (including la Louisiane, Maison India and Sushi Yumi, to name a few) have signed on for Dine for the Depot. Some eateries are preparing special meals for the festival (the proceeds of which will be donated to the NDG Food Depot), while others have pledged a percentage of their weekly sales.
There’s a healthy serving of graffiti-related programming at NDG Arts Week, starting with Exploring the Roots of Graffiti on Aug. 20, at Coop la Maison Verte (5785 Sherbrooke W.), 7 p.m. The event opens with a screening of Henry Chalfant’s classic exploration into the world of New York graffiti culture, Style Wars, followed by a presentation and discussion of Montreal street art led by Fiona Keats, all in the midst of a photography exhibition of graffiti.
Much-beloved street painter Roadsworth is also hosting a “Finissage” after his show at Maison de la Culture NDG (3755 Botrel), on Friday Aug. 24, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Check out some of Roadsworth’s work on the walls, then stick around as director Alan Kohl presents his doc about the artist in question at 6 p.m. The festival also closes out with one of its most anticipated attractions, the NDG Art Walk, Live Painting and Performance Event. Duck in and out of cafés to check out local artwork, catch on-the-spot performances, or create a little something of your own with Omer DeSerres-donated supplies.
Maison de la Culture also plays hosts to the festival’s three-night NFB Animation and Documentary Series featuring NFB-funded works by NDG filmmakers. Or, to evoke the good-time feeling of going to the drive-in, mark your calendar for Off the Wall, a screening of short films and video projected outdoors in Girouard Park. Aug. 24, 8 p.m.
On Saturday Aug. 25, head to the ninth edition Street Vibes, themed “Justice,” spearheaded by Head & Hands. Integrating a variety of performing arts, ranging from poetry to DJing to dance, this youth-oriented event sells out early. That’s at Maison de la Culture, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Finally, the festival closes out with Country En Ville in Girouard Park on Sunday Aug. 26. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., the festival offers up a family-friendly afternoon of old-timey fun, with acoustic music, corn on the cob, fresh lemonade and children’s activities.
When all’s said and done, it’s important to highlight the festival’s philanthropic backbone. While contributions from all events will help support the NDG Food Depot, the festival itself aims to draw attention to the neighbourhood’s landscape, buildings and resources, and to the diversity of people dwelling within it. Attendees are encouraged to plunge into the multifaceted nature of NDG’s city life and rub shoulders with their neighbours. ■
NDG Arts Week runs from Aug. 18–26