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Gerry Fest comes to life at the St. Norbert Arts Centre

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After last year’s virtual opening ceremony – Gerry Fest was finally able to come to life at the St. Norbert Arts Centre.

New artists and musicians from all over Winnipeg were invited to celebrate the legacy of local artist Gerry Atwell.

“Today’s an expression of the values that Gerry Atwell left us, of sharing our skills and raising up the new voices, the young people, getting them onto the stage, getting them into the galleries, and looking on how we can build quality in that social justice way that we can through the artist’s voice,” said Louise May, Co-chair of Gerry Fest.

Louise May – Co-Chair of the Gerry Fest committee and founder of the St. Norbert Arts Centre

The festival’s goal was to raise money for the Gerry Atwell Memorial Mentorship Fund to support emerging and under-represented artists in our community.

“Those are the people we want to raise up to have that opportunity, because we might lose those voices, so it’s really important to make sure that we’re capturing, helping them and moving them up and making sure they have these opportunities,” said May.

Even those who weren’t familiar with Gerry’s work before he passed away are now glad they can be a part of it.

“I didn’t know Gerry, but I’ve heard many stories and watched a lot of videos and learnt about him, and he was an amazing musician and an awesome mentor, and I’m so glad that they are continuing this on his name,” said Ethan Lyric, Indigenous musician and songwriter.

The Centre administered the festival and mentorship fund in partnership with Atwell’s family, with the help from community members and organizations. 

“I know I feel Gerry around me today, my brother would be very happy. I’m looking at his picture, we have his picture on some of our t-shirts today again, and I know this is exactly what he wanted to be happening in the community. He loved the arts, he loved people, he was interested in everyone and the idea of being positive and having a positive relationship with up and coming, emerging artists, would be something that he would be smiling at us for today,” said Judy Williams, Gerry’s sister.

You can find more information about future events and how to donate at the St. Norbert Arts Centre website.

– Juliana Vannucci, U Multicultural.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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