Art collectives invite you to get involved

Two Fredericton-based groups are looking to change the way people experience the arts in Fredericton.
The Shifty Bits Cult, along with FeelsGood productions and Connexion ARC, hold ‘Open Arts Gatherings’ every few months, which is aimed at connecting artists of all kinds with the surrounding community.
An Open Arts meeting was held on Tuesday and lasted over three hours. Penelope Stevens is a Shifty Bits member and plays a part in organizing the events.
“It’s nice to get everyone’s opinions in one room,” said Stevens. “When you leave you feel a little bit heart-warmed about how great this place is.”
The goal of the meetings is to create and environment for people to share their ideas and discuss ways of turning those dreams into realities. Available practice space for musicians and a positive space to critique and build better projects are just a few of the things covered. It’s a simple set-up– everyone gets together in one room and spills their ideas onto a communal chopping block.
The groups hosting the event want to diversify and strengthening the arts community.
“We didn’t really intend on doing more than one when we started but it was really cool and fun, so now we’re doing it every season,” says Stevens.
The Capital Complex bar in downtown Fredericton held an event over the summer titled ‘Swinger’s Club Showcase‘ that was a direct result of this chopping block. The idea was to create music that was completely unfamiliar and new. The result was an assembly of over 20 bands and artists who were purposely placed with other random artists as ‘bands‘ for the night. The event was such a hit that something just as big is in the works.
The arts scene in any community can seem intimidating to those not involved, but that is exactly what the meetings aim to change.
Margo McKenzie attended Wednesday meeting and is self-admittedly “not an artist, not a musician and I only dabble in art, so I feel that intimidation.”
McKenzie was happy to attend the meeting and left feeling like she was part of something totally casual and inclusive. Whether you’ve got bucket-loads of input or just feel like observing, the meetings are to each their own. The Gatherings also provide a great chance for students to connect with Fredericton’s vibrant cultural experience.

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