Artsweek History and Background

Artsweek is Peterborough’s biennial festival of the arts, a ten-day extravaganza of music, sound, poetry, puppetry, painting, films/videos, sculpture, and performance of all kinds, unfolding in public spaces all across the City. Artsweek brings new work to new audiences, supports original creation by local artists, and celebrates Peterborough as an innovative, creative community.

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 projects and events. The theme of the 2005 Centennial Celebrations was “Imagine Peterborough” and most of the activities focused on cultivating an investment in and recognition of Peterborough as a “Creative City”.

Arts managers and activists 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. Management of Artsweek has taken different forms over the years, but many of the original volunteers still contribute their energy and efforts to making Artsweek possible. Dozens of new artists, volunteers, sponsors and supporters participate every year and join “Planet Artsweek”.

Artsweek Now In late 2014, responsibility for Artsweek 2015 was transferred to the Electric City Culture Council (EC3), Peterborough’s newly founded municipal arts, culture and heritage service organization. EC3 presented Artsweek again in 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 has worked with numerous businesses in the downtown over the years, with more than 50 private sector partners supporting dozens of different projects each year. Artsweek fulfilled its promise as a legacy project and has continued to provide a great showcase for local talent and artistic vision every September. Audiences have continued to grow each year, with 30 projects in all disciplines happening in 40 locations and close to 100 artists taking part in 2016.

In 2017, EC3 announced that Artsweek would become a biennial event and Artsweek 2018 will take place September 21st – September 30th 2018. Our theme in 2018 – “Art in Unexpected Places”, so watch out for singers and dancers, flying canoes, take-out poetry carts, giant books, wailing whales, books and public acts of printmaking 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 a not-for-profit organization serving the arts, culture and heritage (ACH) sector in Peterborough and the surrounding region. Our job is to act as an antenna and sounding board for the ACH community, to identify challenges in the sector and develop and deliver services that will help our members and the broader creative community meet those challenges, discover new opportunities, implement useful and innovative strategies to strengthen their organizations and provide meaningful support to better serve artists, heritage professionals, cultural managers and audiences.

Information: Contact: Su Ditta, 705 749 9101