This October marked the fourth Vignettes Design Series, an art and design festival that brings creatives from different disciplines together in an underutilized space to make one-of-a-kind works for thousands of Edmontonians to enjoy and explore. Avenue spoke with Vignettes creator and Top 40 Under 40 alumnus Leigh Wright about this year’s event and what the festival means to Edmonton.
So where did Vignettes happen this year?
We got a new venue, the Legends building on 104th Street and 103rd Avenue, kitty-corner to Mercer Tavern, and it’s great. Normally one of our biggest hurdles is renovating the space, but this one was in a really good condition, before the Vignettes production team renovated it. It’s 15,000 square feet on two floors, with lots of windows and curved walls, lots of ins and outs and space to explore.
It was a lot bigger, but what was really different is that we actually fully programmed the whole gallery. So we had our Thursday thoughts series, which were like a TED Talk-meets-podcast kind of atmosphere with live podcasts. Fridays were a mixology and music series, where we worked with a lot of the local bars and live musical performances to create more that more lively environment. And then on Saturdays we worked with local restaurants to come in and do a cooking class where people came in to make a meal and a cocktail with a local chef before they explored the gallery.
What’s this year’s theme?
The theme was ‘muse.’ We asked teams: Who is your muse? Who or what do you draw inspiration from? And we got some really interesting ones, like Gatsby and Frida (Kahlo) and completely different ones, like Instagram — spinning the concept around and showing how people are becoming their own muses.
This was the fourth Vignettes Design Series. What excites you about this year’s event?
We’ve got such a diverse group, and a bigger group. And it feels like we’ve hit critical mass, being in the epicentre of downtown. But from the beginning, this festival was a way to really build relationships, solidify a community, connect a lot of dots and really push that forward because Edmonton has a really awesome design scene. And they’re really doing some amazing things. But there wasn’t really a voice for it. So it’s exciting to see different designers, contractors, renovators and business owners building a community around this festival and supporting each other. It’s amazing to see.