Into The Woods in The Free Press

 Posted Nov 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Over 400 people came out last Saturday for the bi-annual Lantern Festival hosted by The Arts Station. - Photo by P. McLachlan

— Image Credit: Photo By P. McLachlan
By Phil McLachlan

Over 400 people came out last Saturday for the bi-annual Lantern Festival hosted by The Arts Station.

A dark snowy night was interrupted by the bright lights of hundreds of lanterns marching down 1st Avenue towards the Fernie Aquatic Centre.

This bi-annual lantern festival, hosted by the Fernie Arts Station, reached an all time record high in attendance numbers, attracting over 500 people to celebrate in a unique art project experiment.

“We started planning in August,” said Erin Teeple, Administrator for the Fernie & District Arts Council/The Arts Station. “We have a really dedicated committee of artists that get together and start conceptualizing the idea.”

The community events that were also hosted by the Arts Station as a build up to this event were all very successful, and the Lantern Festival finished off the project with a bang.

Fernie Hospice was in attendance, selling lanterns as a fundraiser for their organization.

The march traveled from the Arts Station to the Fernie Aquatic Centre, where a forest full of colourfully-lit creatures and mysterious creations stunned those attending.

With a ‘Northern Lights’ theme in the 2014 Lantern Festival and an ‘Into the Woods’ theme for this year, 2018 looks to another exciting and unique themed event which is yet to be announced.

For many years the Arts Station has been working to bring art to the community of Fernie and engage the public in an informative way. Teeple believes that this is extremely important to the well-being of a community.

“Art can be thought provoking, emotionally responsive and create a dialogue within community,” she said. “’Into the Woods’ engaged our community by encouraging public participation in both creating a lantern and showcasing it in the parade and installation site.

“When we invite others to experience art or create their own work; magical things start to happen. New worlds are created like ‘Into the Woods’.”

Some Beautiful Lanterns Being Created

Just wanted to show off a few of the pieces being built at the Community Builds nights. I love the thought that goes in to each piece. There’s a lot of sharing of ideas and encouragement. What a wonderful environment to be creating in!

Community Builds Began This Week

community build - working in the arts station theatre community build - working in the arts station theatre penguin lantern

Our first two Community Builds have come and gone and, we’d have to say, they were both very successful. Thanks to everyone that has come out so far! The lanterns are looking beautiful! Our next community build is scheduled for Sunday November 16 from 11am-3pm. Come out and make something cool (at The Arts Station – in the theatre).

What Happens At The Community Builds…

community builds - information

The Community Builds are free workshops/work space at The Arts Station for anyone to attend in order to make a lantern. The whole process can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before, so we offer you a place to work, materials to work with and some people to guide you, if needed.

Come on down at anytime during one of the community builds, pick up some material (or come say “hello” and we can help you get started), find a place to work and build your lantern. You can also store your lantern upstairs and continue your work on another night because, well, Rome wasn’t built in a day – am I right?!

Even the small tissue paper lanterns can take one or two sessions because of drying time but you can simplify by decorating a glass jar or paper bag. These two options seems simple but they are brilliant in their simplicity.

You can also come down and just talk to a volunteer about your idea or get some inspiration. Not everyone likes to work in public spaces but we do love the idea of building this festival with the community.

The excitement is building. I’m glowing already.