Tomasz Mrozewski sets his alarm for Express ‘06 at the Eastern Edge Gallery this Saturday

When Michelle Bush first stepped into the job of director of Eastern Edge Gallery just over two years ago, the gallery was right in the throes of planning for the art marathon. She recalls it being a big, crazy mess to step into. This year, with over 70 artists, 30 performances, and 24 hours of creative madness to plan for, it doesn’t seem like much has changed.

Called "Express ’06" this year but more commonly known as "the art marathon", the event is Eastern Edge’s annual fundraising event, now entering its fifth year. In just these few short years, the art marathon has become one of the big draws of the summer in St. John’s, buzzing on people’s lips on par with the Sound Symposium, Festival of New Dance and the Nickel. It’s the brainchild of local artists and Eastern Edge members Will Gill and Ben Evans.

If you haven’t pieced it together yet, Express ’06 is a 24-long creative jam, with a swarm of artists, performers, musicians, writers, dancers, potters, printers and more descending on the gallery and surrounding space for an orgiastic public display of art.

It’s a fundraiser for Eastern Edge as well as a large-scale arts showcase. Bush says the showcasing is every bit as important to the gallery as fundraising. As a non-profit, artist-run centre, Eastern Edge isn’t out to make a buck (though it does of course need to cover operating expenses). The art marathon allows not only gallery members to strut their stuff: commercial visual artists, as well as writers, musicians and performers have all made space for themselves at the event over the years. The art marathon is a melting pot for intensity and creativity, and gives the public a unique insight into a variety of artists’ processes.

Over the years there have been all kinds of memorable events. Last year Gerald Squires had Gordon Laurin sit for a portrait in commemoration of Laurin’s highly-controversial and publicized sacking from the art gallery at the Rooms that spring. Cyril Butler also put bees in a few bonnets in last year’s most sound-bite worthy performance, as he recited pop-culture queer cliches with a mic’ed, vibrating dildo placed… ahem… in media res.

Bush assures me that the daytime events will be child-friendly, and on Saturday there will be free children’s workshops from noon to 5 p.m. 

Among other attractions, this year’s marathon features public clay-throwing, courtesy of the Devon House, and t-shirt printing courtesy of Dave Hopley and Living Planet. Saturday evening’s music features Sherry Ryan, Jody Richardson, Origin of the Sound’s rock opera "Injector Fly", and many more.

Works created at Express ’06 will be auctioned off at a silent auction on Sunday at 2:00 pm. There will be another – live – auction on Thursday September 7th, at 7:00 pm., where the remaining works will be sold.

Express ’06 schedule of events

Saturday (noon) to  Sunday (noon)

EASTERN Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive

Saturday 12pm-5pm:

Activities, entertainment, workshops & artmaking ($3 adult, children under 10 free) Drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, puppeteering, performance, music, dance, poetry, pinatas + more. Free children’s workshops.

Saturday 5pm-late

5:30pm     Wayne Butler
5:45pm     Children’s Puppet Show
6pm           Dzolali Drum & Dance
6:20pm     Delf Maria Hohmann
6:40pm     Menage a Trois
7pm          Michelle ButLer Hallett
7:10pm     Don Austin
7:20pm     Marcus Lobb
7:30pm     The Commie Ninjas
7:50pm     Black Auks
8:10pm     Dashti
8:20pm     Stephen Rossiter
8:40pm     Suzanne Power
9pm          Scott Goudie & Steve Hussey
9:20pm     Kevin Hehir
9:40pm     The Winter Guest
10pm        The Mountains and the Trees
10:20pm   White Tara
10:40pm   Sherry Ryan
11pm        James Burke
11:10pm   Kremlin
11:30pm   Such Nice Youth
11:50pm   Endearing Perversion
12:10am   Local Tough
12:30am   Elimination Dance!
12:50am   Michael Rogers
1am           Jody Richardson
1:20am     Alicia Grant
1:30am     S/T
1:40am     Neighborhood Watch
2am           Vampires of Love
2:10am     Black and Gold Rainbows
2:30am     Michael Jackman
2:50am     Origin of the Sound Band’s rock opera “Injector Fly”   

Sunday 2pm

All of the art created will be sold through a silent auction with the profits split equally between the artists and this artist run, non-commercial gallery.