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Canada’s largest women’s festival, Kingston Women’s Art Festival, returns

Sasha Jimenez French, a committee member for the Kingston Women’s Art Festival, stands outside a window display at Novel Idea. Submitted photo.

On Sunday, the Kingston Women’s Art Festival will return to City Park to celebrate women artists. Bring the family, browse, and enjoy original art designed and created by women.

Sasha Jiminez French, local multi-disciplinary artist, is volunteering her time to help ensure the festival returns to full strength after the COVID-19 hiatus.

“This is my first year working with the Women’s Art Festival and I’m excited to see the many traditions this festival holds continue on, with some exciting new growth for the organization,” French told Kingstonist in an email. “Meagan Lapointe has really taken a leading role with the organization this year and is responsible for a big part of bringing the festival back after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic.”

According to French, the volunteer committee that runs the festival wasn’t sure the festival would return this year.

“Many local artists really were hoping to see the festival’s return, and some, including myself, joined the organization to help relieve some of the work that was mostly being run by three women,” she stated.

Since the late 1970s, the unique, one-day rain-or-shine art festival has operated with the same four facets:

  • Celebrating women’s creativity through the arts
  • Providing a forum for artists to display their work and meet other artists
  • Encouraging women to meet, exchange ideas, and connect with organizations
  • Fundraising for local women’s organizations

The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in City Park on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022. According to French, the festival will have a similar feel to other outdoor art events, with tents lining the park, and a kid’s interactive area near the splash pad, sponsored by the Rocking Horse, including face painting, along with live music from the stage. A water buggy will be on site as well, and French recommends attendees bring their reusable water bottles. And, of course, over 200 female artists and artisans will be on hand, sharing and selling their works.

“The Women’s Art Festival is the longest running festival in Kingston and Canada’s largest women’s festival,” said French. “We’re featuring four amazing local women performers, Alex Mundy, Savannah Shea, Anna Sudac, and Selina Chiarelli, and an art installation by local designer Chelsea Pope of Lil Sis Studio.”

The Kingston Women’s Art Festival has a long history of providing funds to area programs and services for women and children. This funding support remains integral to the festival, and funds available for distribution are based on the financial success of each year’s event, after expenses.

A total of $93,000 has been provided to the community since the inception of the festival. The following are some of the organizations that have applied for, and received, funding from the Women’s Art Festival:

  • Ban Righ Centre
  • Doula Support Foundation
  • Resolve Counselling Services Canada
  • Almost Home
  • Dawn House Women’s Shelter
  • Dress for Success
  • Joe’s Musical Instrument Lending Library (MILL)
  • Interval House (Kingston and Lennox and Addington)
  • Baby and Me
  • Disabled Women United for Change, Kingston
  • Elizabeth Fry
  • Kingston Community Counselling Services
  • Street Health Centre: Creating a Better Life Program
  • South Eastern Ontario Breast Feeding Coalition
  • Kingston Immigrant Services Multicultural Women’s Program
  • HIV/AIDS Regional Services
  • Post Partum Adjustment Coalition
  • Breast Cancer Action Kingston
  • Women’s Training and Employment Program
  • Disabled Women’s Network
  • Anorexia and Bulimia Association of Kingston
  • Girls Inc. Limestone

To support these organizations, a silent auction is currently running online. Take a look at the products available and place a bid.

“The silent auction funds go to local charities and we also offer support for charities and local non-profits by providing free/reduced booth fees if they would like to participate in the festival,” French explained.

“Donations for our silent auction have come from many local artists and businesses like BSE, Martello Alley, Modern Fuel, Harlow Green and more. Other funding comes from festival fees and direct local sponsorship. This year the festival is supported by the City of Kingston, Trailhead, The Rocking Horse, Kingston Community Credit Union, and Cher-Mere. We’re very grateful for the continued support of the community like these businesses and others. They have helped us ensure enough funds to pay our performers and recognize the professional talent we have in Kingston.”

Learn more about the Kingston Women’s Art Festival on their website.

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