In the Soil Arts Festival (ITS) is beginning its search for the volunteers that will allow the event to run in downtown St. Catharines this spring and they would love it if you would join them.
In the Soil Arts Festival is a celebration of the vast array of arts that the area has to offer. Produced by the local Suitcase in Point Theatre Company, it brings together Niagara artists of all different faculties to show off their talents. The three day festival features music, dance, theatre, a variety of media and much more. It is a local festival hoping to better nurture the already blooming culture of the region.
“We believe in the importance/impact of presenting high caliber and artistically exciting work in multiple artistic practices, not only to grow our local audiences, but to support our joint initiative of making Niagara a destination for artists and arts lovers across the province and beyond,” said Deanna Jones, Artistic Director of the In the Soil Arts Festival. “We see Niagara as unique in its assets and a viable alternative to the major centers to create work, share work and build a healthy arts and broader community.”
“In the Soil is a way for us to bring artists from different places and disciplines together within our community. It is a way to shake off the winter blues to see what has grown in the soil over the last few seasons,” agreed Annie Wilson, Artistic Producer of the festival.
The festival has become a cultural rendezvous point in the Niagara region. It has grown to be such a huge event for local artists that they gather from all around to become part of the event.
“The best thing about the festival is how it brings together such a variety of people from our community and beyond together. Between the various local venues, businesses, restaurants, volunteers, artists and staff this three-day explosion of creativity is collaborative at it’s heart and brings everyone together in the creation of a celebration to be proud of,” said Jones.
Wilson further explains that “shared experiences are the bedrock of a community” which makes In the Soil the ultimate community builder as the entire Niagara population is able to engage in the celebration of the Niagara region’s artistic culture.
That being said, the festival is nothing without it’s plethora of volunteers who not only provide the man-power for the three day event, but also bring to it the passion it deserves and requires.
“It is so essential that we have volunteers; without volunteers the festival simply would not happen,” said Anah Shabbar, Volunteers Coordinator & Collaborator. “You see volunteers all over the festival: selling festival passes, guiding festival goers through interactive installations, helping bands load their equipment, or ushering people to their seats before a play starts. You also have to factor in that there’s a ton of behind-the-scenes work, like: making sure there’s hot food and drinks in the volunteer zone, helping artists to install pieces before the festival, or cleaning up the mess from last night’s party before the first act starts at the hub.”
“Volunteers are the life-blood of our festival. Our volunteer team is integral for pulling off this ambitious three-day event, as well in the planning and envisioning. Volunteers are the face, the energy and the gears that make ITS run,” said Jones.
Not only are volunteers the ‘life-blood’ of the festival. They also have much to gain from being one of the many helping hands that allows the celebration to run. It is an excellent opportunity to gain volunteer valuable experience, make new friendships and become a huge part of the arts community. Not to mention that those who volunteer for three or more shifts receive a festival pass and working there automatically provides an all access/backstage experience.
If volunteering appeals to you, go ahead and sign up. Volunteer opportunities are not in short supply.
“It is important to have ‘enough’ in order to get the job done. With over 150 acts over three days, over 15 venues, over 600 artists, and more we rely on so many volunteers to fulfill the needs of the scope of the event,” said Shabbar. “Like most not-for-profit organizations, volunteers are so important to getting the work done. We love our volunteers and try to provide a fulfilling, engaging and unforgettable experience for all.”
Those interested in volunteering can apply online at inthesoil.on.ca. The festival runs from April 29 to May 1. For more information check out inthesoil.on.ca