Kirsten Barkved shows a painting done on plywood made by Armstrong’s Ashh Lynn Smith

Kirsten Barkved shows a painting done on plywood made by Armstrong’s Ashh Lynn Smith

Gallery’s Riot grows upwards and onwards

The Vernon Public Art Gallery’s fourth annual event, Riot on the Roof, features alternative art, music, fashion, film, poetry and more.

Models honing outfits with antlers, fur, horns and feathers made quite the statement when they strutted on the catwalk at Toronto’s Arts and Fashion Week in April.

The work of Calgary up-and-coming clothing and jewelry designer Mackenzie Jones, the garments are influenced by the flora and fauna of Canada’s natural wilderness, and are just part of Jones’ unique wearable art collection.

Jones has shown her creations at Vancouver Fashion Week, Toronto’s FAT Arts and Fashion Week, Las Vegas Fashion Week, and at the Wearable Art Gala in Kelowna, and now she’ll be showing them at Vernon’s Riot on the Roof.

The Vernon Public Art Gallery’s fourth annual event, which features alternative art, music, fashion, film, poetry and more, is once again taking place high above Vernon (actually the two top floors of the city-owned parkade on 31st Avenue above the gallery), and promises to be bigger than ever.

“The fashion show is one of our new events that we’re really excited about,” said Kirsten Barkved, the VPAG’s youth ambassador, who is organizing Riot this year. “We’ll be setting up the catwalk with risers donated from Seaton Secondary School, and the chairs will be lined up along the catwalk like at a fashion show. (Jones) is bringing one of her models and we also have local volunteers. We have also teamed up with Chatters Hair Salon to do the hair and makeup.”

With three years already under its belt, the reputation for Riot, which draws primarily on young people living across the Okanagan, has grown.

“We wanted to get the word out even more this year as a lot of people heard about it from last year,” said Barkved, herself a creative writing student from UBC Okanagan. “The biggest tool this year has been Facebook and other social networking sites. We used a slew of online media to get the word out.”

The response from local musicians and bands was particularly impressive.

“I had 20 bands e-mail me about possibly performing at Riot. We have booked some incredibly talented local bands with a strong, loyal following,” said Barkved, adding she encourages those musicians not selected to reapply earlier next year.

On the bill is Devon Coyote, who just played at Kelowna’s Keloha Music Festival, Kamloops’ band Van Damsel, Kelowna’s JoyfulDoor, Tiny Robot, and Bjorn Kriel, who placed in the top 10 at this year’s Our Kids Have Talent, as well as Vernon’s Paperboy, Harley David Knife (of Modern Folk fame) and Windmills.

“Music is what brings people out to events and this year we teamed up with Cory Myraas, who is known as Windmills, who was a huge help. He also gave me a lot of band names,” said Barkved. “We’re also really humbled that Devon Coyote is coming to Riot. He has a strong following in Kelowna and is getting a lot of national attention. He likes to pay tribute to his roots.”

Barkved also called out to young emerging artists and students attending Okanagan College, UBCO and CATO (the Centre for Arts and Technology Okanagan) to showcase their visual art, film, creative writing and other projects. Other artists were called upon to create works on large pieces of plywood at the VPAG’s Take Part in Street Art, to be displayed at the Riot.

“It’s an intimidating thing to be creative in a public space and to put yourself out there,” said Barkved. “The Riot takes the work of people and puts them in a comfortable space that is affordable for the community to come and see what’s happening in the Okanagan radius, to see something local and alternative.”

Organizers  have also coordinated a film lounge, with couches donated from Salvation Army. Films include a three-minute short called I Love My Friend, made by UBCO creative writing professor Michael V. Smith, as well as others by Julia Prudehomme, Shannon Lester and UBCO students Taylor Martin and Rebecca Klein.

Also in store is an alternative sound performance by UBCO professor Neil Cadger and some of his students, who will demonstrate Cadger’s  Soundcan project.

“They use microphones strapped to their chests with an MP3 player and amplify the sound with a can that is whirled around in the air to interrupt everyday life with sound,” said Barkved. “It’s going to be really cool.”

Revellers can also enjoy the artistic creations of Dawn Tyndall’s body art, a lounge area for poetry and spoken word, and groups such as Vernon’s Sookinchoot Youth Centre, which will showcase their multi-media projects that encourage aboriginal youth to create. In addition, Kelowna’s Tandem Studio have also been given permission to create a new mural while the event is on.

Doors to the Riot on the Roof open Saturday at  6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5, or $10, which gets the purchaser a year-long membership to the VPAG, available at the gallery, the Bean Scene and at the door. This is a public drug and alcohol free event. All ages are welcome.

For more information, contact or call 250-545-3173.