Vibrant installations illuminate Folk Fest

Dan Dorge works on his Winnipeg Folk Festival Muisiriún Illuminé, a 10-foot-tall glowing mushroom.

Whether towering over the campground or tucked among the trees, Winnipeg Folk Festival (WFF) art and animation installations welcome festival goers and encourage a sense of community.

Coming in forms of visual art, performance and interactive animation service, the WFF provides financial support for items utilized by campground participants, information and promotional support for applicants, aiming to enhance the festival experience with artistic projects. This year’s artistic works include “Aurora Borealis,” “Pyramid of Greats” and “Sacred Sircus,” all creating delight for festival goers.

Animator Dan Dorge set up his project days before campers arrived. While it started with an idea from 2014, he said his interest in creating the final project peaked during his first WFF in 2012 when he saw the impact of the arts and animations projects around the campground.

Animations — visual mediums that use models, drawings or objects to create lifelike motions — add to the experience of the festival.

He said he saw “what it did and how it brought people together, the amount of inspiration that flowed out of these pieces that people take home to boost their own creativity was just phenomenal.”

This year, his 10-foot-tall glowing mushroom, Muisiriún Illuminé, is shining brightly through the long party-filled WFF nights.

“Pretty simple but pretty epic,” described Dorge.

Jeremy Koz, also a first-time animator, created “The Village Shelter” with volunteers from the House of Koz and the Village Idiots. Supported by a fundraiser that featured local artists, his art-filled shelter allowed friends to meet, to play music and to enjoy art. The goal of “The Village Shelter” created a place of love, acceptance, safety, and imagination for festivalgoers to feel part of a community.

“I truly believe when you create a space that is welcoming and shows that a group of people put this together to give back to the spirit of Folk Fest, then magical things happen,” said Koz.

Dorge said festival animations are more than simply beautification of the site. He said he strongly believes that animations bring people together and are made to inspire others.

“I think animations are important for exactly those reasons, to bring our community together and to inspire people, to bring out the very best in themselves and just to feel good around art and animation installations,” said Dorge.

“Regardless of what it is I’ll always feel a glow around something that was created from nothing.”

Koz agreed the community aspect of the art and animations is what inspired him to create one in the first place.

“Every campground experience every year has been so unique,” said Koz.

“Animators are a huge part of that because they create a lasting experience and don’t ask for anything in return [from] people camping. They just want you to enjoy and be part of the community.”