July 13, 2012
Inaugural Art Gate project starts this week at Bear Creek
DAWSON CITY – This July 12-19 marks the launch of the very first Art Gate. Primarily conceived of by Greg Hakonson and developed by the Dawson City Arts Society (DCAS), Art Gate has been envisioned as a creative interchange program between artists from Dawson City and artists from around the world.
This year, there are 12 participants who call home as close as Dawson and as far as Berlin. They have been invited by DCAS and Parks Canada to spend two days at the Bear Creek Compound, collecting photos, sketches, and ideas, which they will use for the next week to create a body of work inspired and informed by Bear Creek. Bear Creek, located 10 km east of Dawson, was a headquarters for corporate mining in the Klondike Goldfields between 1905 and 1966. The heritage site was acquired by Parks Canada in 1975. Bear Creek is a significant component of the Art Gate project and largely the inspiration for its initial conception. It is hoped that Art Gate will raise local and national awareness of Bear Creek, and eventually serve as a fundraising initiative for its preservation and restoration.
Hakonson feels it is especially important that artwork about Bear Creek be expressed not just by people of the community, for the community, but that visitors be given the chance to interpret and channel its spirit and significance in order to communicate and exchange with locals in a new and alternative light; in other words, to “re-present” Bear Creek.
The plan is to acquire pieces created during Art Gate into a permanent Bear Creek collection, which will be perpetually on tour. In this way, awareness will be raised not only among locals, but also on a national scale.
The broad vision for Art Gate in coming years is certainly ambitious. This inaugural event is intended to act as an introduction and invitation for other cities to follow suit. In the coming years, the idea is that cities from around the world will be encouraged to participate in mutually beneficial artistic partnerships. Though it is in its initial stages of development and therefore remains relatively unspecific in terms of process and production, Art Gate will assert the continuation of embracing all forms of art and inclusion wherever possible.
Each city will be free to conduct their events to whatever duration and extent they wish, while maintaining a conceptual parallelism. Art Gate emphasizes overlooked aspects of culture, meaning both conceptual and physical “sites”- such as Bear Creek.
Dawson is undoubtedly well suited and prepared to take on such an initiative. One need only walk down the street any day during the summer months to see that this is an environment primed for artistic innovation on an international stage. Not only do un-conventional contemporary artistic practices thrive and abound in this small town, but also it has always warmly welcomed a concentrated population of extreme diversity.
The hope is to increase Dawson’s already notable art profile to a prestigious and recognized international scale. For now, we wish our visiting and local artists an inspiring and productive week in the Klondike.
Karen DuBois Rian Lougheed-Smith
Executive Director Board of Directors
Klondike Institute of Art and Culture Dawson City Arts Society
867-993-5005 867-993- 3789