Annabel Stanley builds an environmental sculpture with artists from the Cool Arts group for the upcoming Fertility Festival. Below: Laura Gerhardt works vines into a sphere composed specifically to break down with only twine and three interlocking rings of grape vines forming the basic structure.

Okanagan festival showcases a design destined for disintegration

Kelowna's new Fertility Festival, staged by the Conduit Collective, will draw art from the earth and produce music to fee the soul.

  • May. 3, 2012 3:00 p.m.

A new piece of public art is scheduled to disintegrate beginning next weekend.

Skilfully planned by cane artist Annabel Stanley, the spherical pyramid—a nod to the roundness of the earth and it’s home at Summerhill Pyramid Winery—will be, for lack of a better term, rotting away for the next year or two.

“It comes from the earth, then it’s created and then it goes back to the earth,” explained Stanley, a former florist who began working on natural art pieces when she owned a flower shop in New Zealand.

This new sculpture is inspired by environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy’s land art—the British sculptor creates pieces from the natural surroundings found on a site often photography the piece to preserve a fleeting existence—and is a creation of the Cool Arts Society.

Over the last couple of weekends a team of adults with developmental disabilities, and the volunteers who work with them on art projects, have carefully assembled the structure out of cuttings from the Summerhill vineyard, under Stanley’s direction.

“It’s all from organic material, so it will break down, probably taking a couple of years,” said Stanley, noting the relatively dry climate should slow the process.

Laura GerhardtStanley met the Cool Arts crew through participants who also ski for the national cross country team she helps coach and helped birth the new piece of art for the upcoming Fertility Festival.

With musicians like local jazz artist Leila Neverland, indie band Fields of Green, poets Rawle Iam James (who runs a local poetry group), the Kinshira fire spinning group, singer/songwriters Andrew and Zachari Smith, Tyko Drumming and several earth-inspired talks, the festival is shaping up to be an unprecedented convergence of the Okanagan arts community and  the environmentally attune.

Co-organizer Gabe Cipes will deliver a talk about his winter in Penticton learning about permaculture, his experience with biodynamics and Summerhill’s Demeter Status. Local urban farming guru Curtis Stone will speak about his experiences farming local lawns and gardens and Inner Fish Performance Company, run by UBCO professors Neil Cadger and Denise Kenney, will perform.

A string of local artists and crafters are expected to be on hand with Karmyc Designs, Capricornicopia Artworks, Left Over Hippies and Scribbled Sun Studios among them.

The Fertility Festival runs from May 11 at 2 p.m. to May 12 at midnight at Summerhill Winery, 4870 Chute Lake Road, with shuttles running every 15 minutes from the winery to the K.L.O. campus of Okanagan College beginning at 6 p.m. on May 11. Parking is very limited.

Information can be found on Fertility Festival Facebook page.

The Cool Arts Society will unveil their finished work at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, May 11.

Tickets are $15 at the door; $10 for students and $5 for people hanging art in the vineyard.

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