NDG Arts groups launch new Imagine Monkland Festival
Imagine Monkland – NDG arts groups are launching a new Imagine Monkland festival for 2018. The annual Flavours of Monkland street festival was canceled in 2017 because of complaints about noise and drunken and disorderly conduct. So this year NGO Arts Week which organizes the annual festivities will be presenting a more family-friendly version with better controls. “Monkland Village is one of the hearts of the NDG community and Imagine Monkland opens it up as a new playground for all residents while respecting those who live close by,” says Co-Director Luca Palladino. “Arts Week conducted a survey over the summer and the main thing that people missed about not having an event on Monkland was the spirit of the community.”
The announcement was made at a recent press conference hosted by Porco Restaurant a trendy Italian eatery on Monkland Avenue. There has long been a clash of values between citizens in the gentrified neighborhood surrounding the commercial strip and partygoers who would turn it into a mini-version of the Plateau Mont-Royal’s Boulevard Saint Laurent. Dubbed “The Boulevard” the busy thoroughfare near McGill University that was once known as the Main, is its own cautionary tale of how neighborhood diversity can turn into a cultural battlefield as residents and tourists, merchants and shoppers, cyclists and motorists, students and yuppies, stake out their turf.
Paul Scriver, President of Notre-Dame-des-Arts (NDA) a charitable non-profit with a mission to promote the arts and culture in NDG isn’t worried. He says events like Imagine Monkland are about using the arts to build community. “It’s about social ecology,” he says. Ecology is a popular buzzword these days though probably few know what it means. Ecology is actually a branch of science that deals with the relationships between living things and their environments. In the social context, it’s about the connection between people, place, nature, and things. “The arts bring people together,” he says. With the support of donors and the aid of volunteers, NDA was able to sponsor more than 20 activities in 2016 and 2017 including Art Walk, Country en ville, Opera in the Park, and Sunset on Somerled.
Imagine Monkland will be taking place in a free-access pedestrian zone between Girouard and Harvard on Monkland on June 22-23-24. The summer festival will present outdoor concerts on two small stages where local bands such as Old Time honey, Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, and Impulso Flamenco will entertain both locals and visitors gratis. There will be a DJ dance night, lounge area, circus acts, workshops, participatory arts & crafts, and a 3-D chalk laboratory, plus fun activities for kids. The Monkland street festival is co-sponsored by Biz NDG, a local merchants association with some additional funding from the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Côte-des-Neiges borough. As in past years, there will a giant streetwalk sale with booths for vendors, artisans, NGO’s, and Food Trucks. Tying it all together is Imagine Market which will provide dedicated spaces for commercial stores in the area. “There are a lot of movers and shakers in NDG,” says Pascal Salzman, President of the NDG Business Association. “The Imagine Market is a way to showcase the immense quality and diversity of merchants on Monkland and local artisans.”
One of the star attractions for kids of all ages will surely be The Homespun Parade which will feature giant puppets inspired by monsters and creatures. Young and old alike will be invited to make their creations out of anything they choose under the tutelage of Mathieu René. “To me the idea of taking art out of institutions and putting it back into the hands of people, to have art that can be made out of anything, that art does not have to be high-end, that it can be cheap and accessible, that is brilliant,” says Artistic Director Melanie Stuy.
Arts Week is co-producing, with Notre-Dame-des-Arts, the 3rd Annual NDG Arts Fundraiser. On Thursday, April 19th NDG Arts and Arts Week will host The Cheap Medicine Comedy Show at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall. Buying a ticket to the Cheap Medicine Comedy Show will help to support initiatives such as NDG Porchfest, St. Raymond Cheap Art Collective, NDG Art Hive, and events taking place during Arts Week like NDG Cinema Off the Wall.
Full programming details will be announced on the website www.artsndg.ca and on the Facebook page @ImagineMonkland.
By: Deborah Rankin – firstname.lastname@example.org