At Sarasvàti Productions and ACI Manitoba’s Work It Nights, an inspiring and supportive event that welcomes all artists to participate in whatever way they feel comfortable with.
Winnipeg has a vibrant arts community, be it theatre, film, visual arts, poetry or animation – the city is overflowing with talent.
However, as an emerging theatre artist, I noticed I rarely got to connect with artists outside of my field. I also noticed I was spending a lot of time alone in my apartment with my art. A lot.
Some days I wished that I could talk to other artists, see their work and show them mine, but there really wasn’t a relaxed open event offering that. So I stayed alone in my apartment.
Working at Sarasvàti Productions as the Emerging Artist in Residence, I conducted an online survey of emerging artists to see what workshops they might be interested in.
Interestingly, many used the comment section to ask for a social event to connect with other artists and to help workshop works in progress. I wasn’t the only one alone in my apartment wishing for other artists to talk to about art.
Armed with this new knowledge and an idea developed from a similar event in Whitehorse, YT as well as similar events around Winnipeg, I approached Arts & Cultural Industries of Manitoba (ACI). Much to my surprise Cali Ramsey from ACI was completely on board and Work It Night was born.
For artists of all disciplines there is now no excuse to stay locked in your apartments and houses for months at a time.
Work It Night is on the third Monday of every month and welcomes artists to come present their works in progress. Artists have the option to either just present the work, ask for reactions only or ask for constructive criticism. There is also the option to not present any work and just be there to support presenting artists.
One of the best parts is that admission is by donation, so coming to this event won’t break the budget.
We have now had two Work It Nights and both evenings have been inspiring, interesting and stimulating.
It was great to see a performing artist give their thoughts on a novelist’s work, a poet reflect on a transition in a videographer’s film and an animator comment on an actor’s audition monologue.
Personally, as a theatre and film artist I see all art from that angle, but it is fascinating to get perspectives from other artists.
While it’s surprising how similar the comments can be, often the comments are something you’d never have thought of.
On the last Work It Night on December 15, we saw how it could be more than just a venue to present work when one of the participants asked the group’s opinion on the best ways to contact other artists to collaborate on a project.
We had an interesting discussion on what we thought worked and didn’t work when reaching out to other artists/organizations. We also saw artists open up about the fears and challenges of working as an artist which were met with encouragements from the group.
More than 20 people have come out to the past two Work It Nights to present their work, give feedback to fellow artists and to support each other. I’ve met many artists who I never would have met otherwise and have learned a lot from seeing different forms of art in its early stages.
With our next Work It Night coming up on January 19th to look forward to, I don’t feel so alone anymore.
For more information on Work It Night please visit Sarasvàti Productions’ website: www.sarasvati.ca