CGAS RISER Found Festival

CGAS Announces Incoming Found Festival Director Whittyn Jason

Photo by Liam Mackenzie.

The staff and board of Common Ground Arts Society couldn’t be more excited to share the appointment of the incredible Whittyn Jason (they/them) as the next Festival Director of Edmonton’s celebration of art in unexpected places.

Whittyn will begin their role this month as co-curator of the 2022 Festival alongside long-time CGAS Artistic Producer and Found Festival Director Beth Dart.

“I’m incredibly grateful to be joining the CGAS team as incoming Festival Director for Found Festival,” says Whittyn, “especially under the mentorship of Beth Dart. I’m so thrilled to begin engaging with the artists within this city in the role of a curator. I can’t wait to begin programming Found Festival 2022!”

Whittyn joins the Found Festival staff as a familiar face to Edmonton’s theatre-makers. A graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA in Theatre Design, Whittyn has designed for some of the biggest, smallest, and most unusual spaces in Edmonton’s performing arts. They’ve built productions in bars, parks, and in the River Valley during their time as Found Festival’s 2018 Fresh AiR Artist-in-Residence.

“I couldn’t dream of a better team to guide Found Festival into the next wild and whimsical spaces it will inhabit,” says outgoing Festival Director Beth Dart. “Whittyn is no stranger to Found and they bring a fierce collaborative creativity, ingenuity, and a passionate care for community. Found Festival is in the absolute best of hands, and I can’t wait to see what the future of this tiny but mighty festival holds!”


ABOUT WHITTYN

Whittyn Jason (they/them/theirs) is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race artist of South African and Ukrainian descent based in amiskwacîwâskahikan (colonially known as Edmonton). They primarily work as a scenographer/lighting designer, hold a BFA in Theatre Design from the University of Alberta, and are a member of Associated Designers of Canada (ADC).


Of course, this announcement also includes the bittersweet note of long-time Artistic Producer Beth Dart’s departure. In the past six years as Found Festival Director and CGAS Artistic Producer, Beth has engaged, mentored, and shared the work of hundreds of artists throughout Edmonton’s neighbourhoods – from pubs to storefronts and apartment buildings to parking lots and everywhere in between. She led immense growth over her tenure, leading CGAS to paying more directly to artists in 2021 than ever before. Her spirit of mentorship every Festival – or perhaps more accurately, every day –  has grown capacity in Edmonton’s theatre-makers immeasurably, and made Found Festival and CGAS a home for experimentation, collaboration, and people & process over product at every turn.

The CGAS staff and board thank Beth for her tireless work and dedication to our artists and community, and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

“A huge thank you to the Found Festival community for the pleasure of being the Festival Director over the past six years. Thank you for the risk, the care, and the innovation along the way. What a ride it’s been! It is all of you – the artists, volunteers, staff, audience, neighbours, and supporters – that make Found Festival such a special place to collaborate and create.”
-Beth Dart

Click here to meet the CGAS team for the 2022/23 season of Found Festival and RISER.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Mac Brock
CGAS Managing Producer/Found Festival Manager
macbrock@commongroundarts.ca

We find ourselves in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ) on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of the Cree, Nakota, Blackfoot, Dene, Saulteaux, Metis, and other indigenous peoples who have made this place home long before we settled here. For thousands of years, people have gathered here to share in story, community, and creative exchange.

We find ourselves thankful: thankful to play a small part in that long-standing tradition, a tradition carried on the shoulders of so many creators, builders, dreamers, agitators, and makers who came before us, and who will come long after us.

We find ourselves inspired: inspired by an evolving community of artists who passionately spark the magic that manifests when we surrender ourselves to the long summer days of this northern place.

We find ourselves grateful: grateful to everyone who rallies around this tiny but mighty Festival — the artists, the volunteers, the staff, the audience, the board, the mentors, the partners and sponsors, the funders, the believers. Found Festival exists because of you.