Marva Wisdom, Festival Director of the ArtsEverywhere Festival, invites attendees to experience a diverse program of lectures, performances, and workshops from May 2 to May 5, 2024, emphasizing the festival's aim to foster connections among people and with the planet.

Written by GAC Volunteer Writer Catherine Constans

“You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of how connected we are – not only connected to each other but also to the planet,” says Marva Wisdom, Festival Director and one of the program curators, about what to expect at the ArtsEverywhere Festival taking place from Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 5, 2024. With a full program of lectures, music, artistic performances, literary readings, exhibitions, workshops and more at the Art Gallery of Guelph and River Run Centre, Marva promises there is something for everyone. “We’re creating a safe space for everyone, both presenters and attendees, to share their stories and have conversations. Whether you live in Brazil, Benin, or Canada, you’ll see there are similarities in all of us.”

From left to right are festival organizers Ciana Paulino, Curtis Walker, Anna Bowen, Marva Wisdom and Sonia Preisler. Photo credit: Sonia Preisler.

Creating a safe space where everyone feels a sense of belonging and can thrive is an important goal for the festival, explains Marva. “Our small but mighty team of creative people, volunteers, partners, and sponsors are working to make sure everyone feels comfortable and included. We often marginalize the arts and artists, and their significant contributions to every area of our lives. We’re working hard to make sure our artists see that Guelph is a spirited city that is open to welcoming their talents and what they have to offer.”

The festival creates a welcoming space for creative storytellers from many disciplines, says Marva, including visual arts, music, performance and literary art. “We all have a story to tell. We’ve seen the impact of wars, COVID, climate and leadership crises on our psyche. If we are in a space where we can recognize its impact and the daily trauma many of us confront, perhaps we can see our similarities and think about things in a way we had not thought of before. Perhaps we can find a way to thrive together on this one planet.” 

The capstone event on Friday evening, The Guelph Lecture – On Being, is in its 21st year. It begins with a special presentation by performance art band Ikumagialiit, followed by a keynote lecture by filmmaker, writer and educator Nora Bateson on making sense of the multiple converging contexts that have led to our current multiple environmental and geopolitical crises. 

“Learn about different cultures and music. Understand the plight of migrants at the Mexico-US border. Participate in sound healing. Enjoy a variety of foods. All of your senses will be awakened, and you will leave feeling a little lighter and more connected to others than before,” says Marva. “We hope to provoke people into thinking beyond themselves and their community to connect with people around the world. We’re at a point in our history where we need to find new ways to move forward together, past the crises we face. It doesn’t happen immediately. It is all the little things that happen over time that change minds and hearts. We have to live in our reality, but we can look beyond it for possibilities of a kinder, more connected, gentler world – with each other and on this earth.” The festival is being presented by Musagetes Foundation. See the full programming schedule at

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