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Arts Quinte West’s First-Ever Bay of Quinte Arts Festival

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With warmer weather in full swing, the Quinte region is gearing up for a season full of exciting events and activities showcasing the vibrant artistic talent that enriches our community. We recently caught up with Briana Godden, Secretary & Director of Arts Quinte West, about the first-ever Bay of Quinte Arts Festival. Briana’s dedication to promoting creativity and community involvement is inspiring and we’re excited to hear more about the upcoming festival and the rest of their plans for this year. 

Interview by Erika Szabo

Read time: 6 min

Can you tell us about the Bay of Quinte Arts Festival and what to expect?

To understand the first-ever Bay of Quinte Arts Festival, you have to start with our organization, Arts Quinte West! AQW is a champion of cultural awareness and activities in Quinte West. We encourage, promote, and showcase the work of local artists. Our vision is to be the premier arts hub, hosting events, fostering partnerships, providing education, and advocating for emerging artists to enrich our community.

Quinte West is a huge community featuring a wide array of super-talented artists. I wanted to create an arts festival right here in our backyard so we’ve made a big push to get it advertised through local news outlets, radio, newspapers, flyers, and social media.

We also have a partnership with the City of Quinte West; they’ve been really good to us.  It’s an exciting revival for our organization and a big opportunity for local artists to prosper and beam about their work.

The Bay of Quinte Arts Festival will be happening Saturday, June 1 from 11 am to 4 pm at the Quinte West Pop-ups in Centennial Park! So far, we are anticipating around 37 artist vendors, but have room for up to 43. We will be set up in sun shelter-style tents adjacent to the pop-up cabins. The pop-ups feature many talented small businesses and food vendors, notably The Forge Wood Fired Pizza, Banana Splitz, K Food Express, and Street Thai Food with Pao. We have a dedicated group with Arts Quinte West and a rallying of local volunteers to help make it happen. It’s a big undertaking with lots of moving parts. All we need now are the festival attendees! 

a woman (light skin, brown hair), stands posed in a booth of art holding one of her paintings
Interviewee Briana Godden posing with original artwork at a previous event

Being the first of its kind, what brought about the inspiration to start the festival? Did you face any challenges along the way?

The inspiration to start the Bay of Quinte Arts Festival stemmed from a desire to create an event that would serve as a cornerstone for artists during the summer months – something local we can look forward to. 

We recognized the potential of arts festivals as a valuable platform for artists to showcase their work and connect with potential clients and buyers. Drawing from personal experiences attending similar events, I envisioned the Bay of Quinte Arts Festival as a must-attend occasion for artists, establishing it as a prominent fixture in the region’s cultural calendar.

Undoubtedly, the journey to launch the festival was not without its challenges. As organizers, we face a myriad of tasks, from logistical hurdles such as set-up/tear-down, weather concerns, and organizing participants, to promotional efforts aimed at raising awareness and attracting attendees. Building momentum for a new event in a competitive landscape requires dedicated effort and strategic planning. 

Our passion for supporting local artists and enriching the community with a new experience drives us to do this. We have a commitment to realize this vision, so I know we will be able to launch a first-of-its-kind festival for the Quinte region.

This region has such a diverse array of talented artists. What artistic disciplines will be showcased at the festival?

The festival itself promises to wow, with many diverse artists showcasing everything from painters, potters, textile artists, 3D printing, illustration and woodworking. We are even featuring musical instruments on behalf of the Quinte Symphony.  

We’ve got painters of all sorts, some showcasing artworks as originals and prints, gorgeous hand-spun pottery, diverse textiles, stunning woodcrafts and uncanny unique creations, knit craft, and meticulously vibrant illustrations. We even have music from Dave Cherron in the afternoon and will have a kid’s corner for kids to paint and have fun. 

This festival is a wonderful way to celebrate and spotlight the various artists in the area. Do you have any aspirations for the future of the Quinte Arts Festival and Arts Quinte West as a whole?

Certainly! The Bay of Quinte Arts Festival serves as a wonderful platform to celebrate and spotlight the diverse array of artists in the area, showcasing their talents and contributions to the community.

an artist sitting at a booth at a vendor show surrounded by paintings
Artist Judy Ormshaw
an artist standing behind a table in a display tent showing off woodworking pieces
Artist Laurie Few

Looking ahead, there are several aspirations for the future of both the festival and Arts Quinte West as a whole.

Firstly, there’s a desire to see the Bay of Quinte Arts Festival grow into a flagship event, with more diverse programming, and hope to expand the festival’s footprint.

Additionally, there’s a vision to further solidify Arts Quinte West as a leading advocate for the arts. This could involve increasing support for local artists through awards, grants and showcases, as well as fostering stronger partnerships with other organizations, educational institutions, and government bodies. We were lucky enough to secure funding through both Trenval and the City of Quinte West this year, so we look forward to launching lots of exciting events and future opportunities.

Ultimately, the overarching goal is to create a vibrant arts ecosystem in Quinte West, encouraging creativity in our area and by fostering community togetherness. These aspirations for the future of the Festival and Arts Quinte West can be realized, leaving a lasting legacy. 

That’s all so exciting to hear, Briana. Are there any other Arts Quinte West events we can look forward to in the coming months?

You can find us at the Artist Alley as part of Trenton’s Festival on the Bay happening July 18 – 20. We used to be set up at Compass Court, but this year the DBIA has graciously allowed us to set up along the main street for all three days. 

Additionally, Brandy from These 4 Walls, a partner member of AQW, had the brilliant idea of showcasing artwork from kids all over Quinte West. She anticipates the largest Square Foot Show Quinte West has ever seen, with participants from over 18 local schools. AQW has committed a substantial investment into the project to help pay for canvases and paint for the kids to showcase their artwork at These 4 Walls in downtown Trenton! 

Looking ahead, we have our Gift of Art Show happening on October 27 at the Batawa Community Centre. There have also been talks about having a webinar series as a resource for local artists. Some things are also in their infancy, but our creative ideas are always opening new doors. 

We have been refocusing our mission statement, values, strategy, and more, so next year promises to be even more fruitful! 

Visit to learn more about upcoming events and iniatives.

a display tent at an art show full of ceramic pieces
Work by Susan Kostya
an open book with a pencil sticking out of it.

A collection of all our stories from the BOQ

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Let’s see what we got!

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The Bay of Quinte RMB Land Acknowledgement

The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board is committed to acknowledging, appreciating and understanding the Indigenous peoples’ historic connection to this land and to raising awareness by building relationships in collaboration with Indigenous partners and communities. 

We recognize and acknowledge that we are living and working on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Mississauga, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee which includes the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) with whom we work in direct partnership with. 

This partnership focuses on the common goal of celebrating the region with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka who are equal partners within the organization and at the Board of Directors table contributing to the mandate and operations.

This mandate includes listening to, learning from, and collaborating with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka and actively incorporating their culture and heritage into the practice of responsible destination marketing and management of the region.

We understand that this land acknowledgement is only a small step towards the larger process of reparations and reconciliation.

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