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HeARTburn festival offers 'vivacious, artistic invasion' to Bow Valley

“We'll give people the tools and ideas about how to make one and then they can do whatever they want.”

BANFF – Uniting the community in a celebration of the incredible creative diversity in the Bow Valley community, heARTburn is kicking off its festival with a found art mobile making workshop in Banff.

Artist Chris Fierro plays a key role in bringing heARTburn to life and is excited to bring the fifth annual event to artsPlace.

Fierro described HeARTburn as a community art event inspired by Burning Man designed to bring people together in a celebration of art and creativity.

“It’s a way to have fun in the wintertime,” Fierro said. “It’s a community initiative in Banff and Canmore to get everyone involved with the large install.”

As part of heARTburn, a month-long art installation is taking place at artsPlace.

On Saturday (Jan. 11) the community will be able to participate in the project and create mobiles out of found objects. The event runs from 4-7 p.m. at the Banff Public Library.

Fierro and another instructor will be hosting the workshop.

“We'll give people the tools and ideas about how to make one and then they can do whatever they want,” Fierro said. “It’s total freedom of creation.”

All mobiles created will be included with a larger art piece that will be installed at artsPlace for a month.

“We wanted to do something simple that anyone could create, children and adults alike – we really wanted to activate the community around us,” Fierro said. “It’s about making it comfortable for people to create without judgment.”

It is an awesome experience helping people connect over common ground, he said, highlighting the desire the group had to create a platform for people to collaborate and create.

“It’s kind of moulded into a really awesome event that brings in artists from all over the place,” Fierro said, adding that creators from British Columbia and the United States attend the festival. “It’s so great to see that something you started as a fun project with your friends has turned into something that has created an impact on the community.”

This year marks the first time heARTburn has had workshops outside the main event and Fierro said he hopes this will be a stepping stone to hosting more community events over the course of the year.

It feels incredible to see how heARTburn is inspiring people to embrace their creative side and create music and art in unique ways.

Community members can participate in other heARTburn mobile making workshops on Jan. 17 and Jan. 19. People can also make mobile pieces at home to include in the project, or visit Fierro's workshop for inspiration.

“We want everybody and anybody to come hang out and create,” Fierro said. “This is the first step towards expanding into more community events.”

It is a pleasure being part of the heARTburn festival, said artsPlace program manager Nicole Fougère, because it brings life to the community through the amazing creative art initiatives created by the festival's encouragement of transformation.

“HeARTburn is a vivacious, artistic invasion of the artsPlace facility – with community, culture and fun,” Fougère said, explaining that the festival will take over every room in the building. “It is a fantastic party … it’s fun in a bottle.”

Fougère said she hopes to see the community attend heARTburn dressed in their wildest costumes, or in their regular attire to celebrate the beauty of art.

Guests can dance the night away or be still, calm and quiet while exploring the exhibit.

“You just get to be yourself at heARTburn," Fougère said.

This year marks an exciting change as it is the first time the festival will be hosting a full gallery exhibition. Fougère added that she appreciates how the collective is inviting the community to participate in the exhibition through the creation of the mobiles that will be strung across the artsPlace ceiling.

It is essential to have an event like this in the Bow Valley because it serves as a celebration of the community, she said, explaining that heARTburn honours the amazing creative diversity in the area.

“It’s at the heart of heARTburn that art is for everyone,” Fougère said.

The main event officially kicks into gear with an opening reception on Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. and features live music and a meet and greet with the artists. The exhibit runs until Feb. 27.