Artsweek Beginnings: 2005
The City of Peterborough celebrated its 100th Anniversary as an incorporated municipality in 2005. Peterborough City Council set aside special funds for the “Centennial Celebrations” and began work on various projects and events to mark the occasion. Mayor Sylvia Sutherland appointed a dedicated committee to organize a year-long series of special projects and events. The theme of the 2005 Centennial Celebrations was “Imagine Peterborough” and most of the activities focused on cultivating a recognition of, and investment in, Peterborough as a “Creative City”.
Arts managers and champions Liz Bierk and Su Ditta were appointed to that Committee and were asked to come up with ideas for designated “legacy projects” in the arts, things that would carry on for a long period of time and, launched by the initial special funding and profile of the Centennial Celebrations, have a lasting impact on the City. “Artsweek” was born. The City of Peterborough continues to provide core funding for the event as a legacy to honour and recognize the centennial celebrations of Peterborough’s birth as an incorporated municipality.
Management and production of Artsweek has taken different forms over the years, but many of the original volunteers still contribute their energy and efforts to making this extraordinary Festival possible. Dozens of new artists, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters participate every year and join “Planet Artsweek”.
In late 2014, responsibility for Artsweek 2015 was transferred to the Electric City Culture Council (EC3). EC3 produced and presented Artsweek again in 2015 and 2016, raising additional funds to support the event. Funders included the City of Peterborough, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Ontario Arts Council, the Downtown Business Improvement Association, and the Government of Canada – Department of Canadian Heritage and Human Resources Canada. Artsweek is now a biennial festival and took place last as a full-scale event in 2018. A Covid-19 modified Festival rolled out in 2020 and early 2021. May 5 – 14 2023 marks our return to a full scale, live event.
Artsweek has worked with numerous businesses and organizations in the downtown over the years, with more than 50 private sector partners supporting dozens of different projects in 2018. Artsweek fulfilled its promise as a legacy project and has continued to provide a great showcase for local talent and artistic vision every other year. Audiences have continued to grow each year, with projects in all disciplines happening in dozens of locations and more than 100 artists taking part.
In 2023 Artsweek takes place May 5th – 14th. Our theme in 2023 is “Art in Unexpected Places”, so watch out for singers and dancers, circus artists, take-out poetry carts, musicians, giant puppets, visual artists, and surprise events and public acts of creativity popping up every everywhere – from the Riverview Zoo to Peterborough Square, and Millennium Park to Armour Hill.
While the EC3 Board of Directors ensures that Artsweek meets its goals and objectives, EC3 staff and a team of festival experts work tirelessly to deliver the event, along with a host of volunteers.
The Electric City Culture Council (EC3)
Founded in 2012, EC3 is an arm’s length, not-for-profit arts service organization supporting the development of individual artists and arts and culture organizations in Peterborough and Peterborough County. Our programs provide opportunities for artists to create, produce, and present work, and for audiences to experience and appreciate the arts. EC3 designs and delivers grant programs, residencies, professional development workshops, research and advocacy initiatives, arts programming and more.
Su Ditta, 705 749 9101