ArtsMarket returning to Durham
ArtsMarket, a regional performing arts showcase, returns to Durham next month with a first-day performance from Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera Company that will be free and open to the public.
Squonk Opera will perform its “GO Roadshow” beginning at 5:45 p.m. Nov. 4 on the grounds outside of the Durham Performing Arts Center. Squonk Opera’s website describes this show as “a music and art-mobile – a 34-foot long monster truck retrofitted with truck-horn calliope, a wall made of rotors and a spinning grand piano that is played while it wheels around.” In its more than 20-year history, Squonk Opera has created 11 original works with music and staging “outside the rules of mass culture, fashion or academia.”
This year’s ArtsMarket is the first to have a public performance, said Stephen Barefoot, director of N.C. Presenters Consortium Inc., which along with the North Carolina Arts Council sponsors the market. He first met the members of Squonk Opera at an event similar to the ArtsMarket, and thought they would be a good fit for the Durham ArtsMarket. “Because Squonk Opera is so colorful and exciting … it’s kind of our thank you to Durham for hosting the event,” Barefoot said.
Held every two years, the market includes an arts trade show, and short performances from music, dance and theater organizations. (Except for the opening night opera, events in ArtsMarket are only open to registered conference participants.) N.C. humorist and storyteller Jeanne Robertson will give the keynote address for conference participants. Performance groups – among them the Swingle Singers, The Celtic Tenors and Taylor 2 Dance Company – will perform short samples of their work at the Carolina Theatre. The Durham Convention Center will house the arts trade show, where agents, managers, and performing artists present information about their work. Representatives of venues of all sizes show up to look at potential events, Barefoot said.
The event also is a showcase for downtown Durham. The ArtsMarket began in 2000 in Wilmington, then went to High Point before moving to Durham in 2011. Attendees at the last market had high marks for downtown Durham as a location for the event. The Carolina Theatre, the Durham Convention Center and hotel with their physical connectedness “makes it so perfect for these kinds of events,” Barefoot said. “As far as we’re concerned, this is where we’re going to stay,” he said.
Organizers expect more than 600 conference attendees, generating 500 visits in local hotels.
Events continue through Nov. 6. The ArtsMarket is open to arts presenters, educators and representatives of other nonprofit organizations. (Registration is required and is still open.)
In case of bad weather, the Squonk Opera production will be held in Durham Central Park at 12:55 p.m. Nov. 5.
For registration information, visit www.ncpresenters.org