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FAAS 5: An out-of-the-box (or parking spot) art festival

Parking lot the 2015 venue for GNO's biannual alternative art fair
At the last FAAS two years ago, participants decorated shopping carts at the Rainbow Centre mall. The alternative art fair is back, and this time participants will be making use of a parking spot to create art. File photo.​

FAAS — the Fair of Alternative Art in Sudbury, an unusual francophone art festival taking place in the city's downtown every two years — has a history of creating art in some unusual public spaces.

Artists have transformed freight containers at the Via Rail station into works of art and decorated cages at the old Market Square building (now part of the Laurentian University School of Architecture complex).

Two years ago, FAAS took over the Rainbow Centre Mall, where artists found creative ways to use shopping carts.

“That's how artists work,” said Daniel Aubin, communications officer for Galerie du Nouvel Ontario (GNO), which organizes FAAS. 

“If you give them a limit or rules, the first thing they do is think outside the box. We tried to give them a box to think outside of.”

For the fifth edition of FAAS, set to take place May 4-7, about 30 artists will take over a parking lot at the intersection of Elgin and Larch streets. 

“Our first flash was we wanted to take metered spaces on Elgin Street,” Aubin said. “Once we thought about that more, we thought there might be some safety concerns with putting art actually on the street.

“But everyone always talks about the lack of parking or the overabundance of parking. It depends on the side of the conversation you are. It seems to be pretty extreme one way or another. Maybe we can use these spaces for something else for a few days.”

Each artist will work within a canvas shelter that fits inside an individual parking space. 

Given that they specialize in everything from performance and fine art, how they use the space will be quite unique. Watch out for spontaneous performance pieces by FAAS participants throughout the week. 

The artists will start work in the parking lot May 4. The project will culminate at 7 p.m. May 7, with a reception, performance art, closing concert featuring the band les Abdigradationnistes and a dance party.

FAAS is supposed to be experimental and fun — and ephemeral. The art created during the festival “appears and disappears,” Aubin said. It's also supposed to bring art to where people are, he said.

Learn more about the festival at


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Heidi Ulrichsen

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