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Inuvik's annual festival well done

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 26/04) - The diversity of artists and musicians during last week's Great Northern Arts festival in Inuvik was the reason for the show's success, says its artistic director.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Lynn Feasey, artistic director for the 2004 Great Northern Arts festival in Inuvik says attendance is down, but festival still a success.

"What is unique about this festival is that it is designed for the artists themselves," Lynn Feasey said.

The 10-day international event offered workshops and seminars, and a dazzling display of art.

"It is always the artists who make this event. Ultimately, that is what the festival is all about," Feasey said.

"Our success is attributed to them."

About 120 visual and performing artists attended, one from Paris, and another from New York state, indicating the widespread interest and popularity of the festival, she noted.

The number of visitors to the festival was down from last year, she said.

She blamed travelling conditions along the Dempster Highway, where forest fire sites have halted or hampered festival-goers.

This year's theme, 170 Degrees: A Survey of Circumpolar Art was well represented as Northern art was highlighted through stone carvings, various painting techniques and song and dance.

A new seminar this year introducing e-commerce to artists was an important addition to the festival, one which helps artists compete globally.

"It's a way for Northern artists to reach southern markets in an effective manner," Feasey noted.

While Feasey said it is always a challenge to find a diverse selection of artists, this year proved the arts are alive and well.

"And there are so many other highlights to the festival," she said.

"Whether it is an elder telling a story, an impromptu performance in the gallery or a group of artists outside creating a buzz -- it's a wonderful experience."