Up the Arts Entertains the Sault this August

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Sault Ste. Marie’s Fringe Festival and Arts Council have joined forces to create an art-full 11-day multi-fest this August.

Up the Arts offers theatre performances, art displays and competitions, a book fair, buskers, musical performances, a block party, beer tent and a whole bunch of creative activities for kids.

The arts assault on the Sault’s downtown takes place Aug. 9-19, including two activity-filled weekends.

All of this fun stuff is low-cost or free with proceeds going to the artists and performers.

Up the Arts is anchored by Fringe North International Theatre Festival, which took root in the Sault last August. Fringe North presents high-calibre and often edgy theatre, busking, art, music and an ambitious free Kids Fringe program.

A dozen productions are registered for this summer’s theatre lineup, with groups from British Columbia, Minnesota, Ottawa and Sudbury joining local acts. Two productions by students and faculty at Lake Superior State University in Sault Michigan will cross the river to join in.

Returning to the second Fringe North festival are Timothy Murphy, Sarah Gartshore and Wendy Hamilton. New this year is illusionist Ryan McFarling.

A full lineup and details will be released soon on the Fringe North website.

Another new addition is the Northern Ontario Book Fair Aug. 9-12 at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion, the focal point for many Up the Arts events.

Silverleaf Writers Guild launched the book fair in Timmins last summer. Books by Northern Ontario authors in all genres will be available, with authors keeping the vast majority of profits. Nine authors are expected to attend in person.

Kids Fringe is back, creating free fun for children of all ages. A highlight is the construction and painting of a giant fort using cardboard boxes, under the supervision of Youth Odena, Aug. 18.

On the visual arts front, the Arts Council of Algoma brings a variety of events to Up the Arts.

“Our goals are to showcase local artists and get people involved in the creative process,” said Russ Raven, president of the Arts Council board of directors.

An Art Crawl takes place throughout the festival. Various locations downtown provide space for local artists to show their work. Pick up a map and do the crawl.

In an Art Battle during Downtown Days,  Aug. 9, artists go head to head in a friendly painting contest with a 20-minute time limit. Spectators vote to choose the winner.

Art N the Park returns Aug. 11-12, with local artists creating and selling their work at the Bondar Pavilion.

Graffiti artists spray their talents Aug. 18 at a Graffiti Wall, painting panels that will be displayed throughout the city. Again a  public vote chooses the winning design.

There’ll be music in the evening air Aug. 10-12 and 16-19 as the Arts Council will feature Algoma performers on stage at the Bondar Pavilion. Enjoy live music by local talent showcasing emerging artists from country to rock, blues,including family friendly all ages performances on Sunday, free music workshops, burgers and beer.

Buskers will add to the fun during Downtown Days and at Art N the Park at the Pavilion Aug. 9-12.