This year’s Expose Yourself exhibition will feature more than just erotic visual art, according to co-organizer Caitlin Bryant.
Along with artist and fellow organizer Laura Balducci, Bryant is preparing for an erotically themed art festival in Powell River that will include performances, workshops, music and more.
The festival lineup begins on Thursday, March 16, with an LGBTQ town hall from 7-9 pm featuring gerontologist and researcher Robert Beringer, who will explore issues facing LGBTQ people in rural areas.
Bryant said the town hall was a natural fit with the festival, as it ties into themes of inclusivity and community.
“We’re all about freedom of self-expression and building brave, resilient communities,” said Bryant. “We typically do that through the arts, but we’ll take any chance we have to support our community and to celebrate diversity and shared experiences.”
The exhibition begins on Friday, March 17, with a variety of artists and performers from Powell River and beyond.
“We’re going for a coffeehouse feel,” said Bryant. “It will include music by resident DJs, finger foods, interactive installations and a fashion show.”
Events take place at Elements Movement yoga studio at 5813 Ash Avenue (the former Bank of Montreal building). Spoken word performances, including erotic poetry, are also part of the lineup, said Bryant.
“We’ve also welcomed a few artists from out of province and country,” she added.
Out-of-town artists include Lynn Strendin (North Battleford, Saskatchewan), Sigalit Aharoni (Israel) and a contingent of artists from Cortes Island working in a variety of media, said Bryant.
The exhibition will feature a number of do-it-yourself tables, where guests can participate in crafts and activities. Festival participant Alfred Bolster will be staffing a table where guests can decorate erotic chocolates.
“I felt that an area of the erotic show, and issues in general, are not to be so serious,” said Bolster. “Sex and sexuality can also be enjoyable and fun. I thought by having [do-it-yourself crafts] we could have some fun and laughter.”
Bryant said she is looking forward to a theatre workshop with Kat Single-Dain, artistic director at Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society, happening at Cranberry Community Hall as part of the art festival. Single-Dain will be participating in various performances throughout the exhibition as well.
Gabriola Island-based artist Elizabeth Shefrin, who is coming to Powell River with her partner and folk singer Bob Bossin, will also be featured. Shefrin will read from her new book Embroidered Cancer Comic, which focuses on the couple’s relationship, difficult diagnosis and treatment.
“The original illustrations in the comic are all hand embroidered,” said Shefrin.
The couple has toured with the book on Gabriola and in Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Calgary, Toronto and Scotland, said Shefrin. They have taken the book to libraries, book stores, churches, cancer groups and book festivals, she added.
Some of the original illustrations will be on display at Expose Yourself, as well as Shefrin’s illustrated children’s books and some of her other work.
“On the Friday night of Expose Yourself we will be presenting a short musical puppet show, the live version of the comic,” said Shefrin. “Bob will sing a couple of songs as well.”
On Sunday, the exhibition will be open to the public free of charge from 12-4 pm, as artists and organizers begin a soft takedown of the art and installations, with a drop-in drawing group taking place from 1-3 pm.
For more information and schedules, go to eyexhibition.com.