Experimental SARUS art festival kicks off Saturday

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A multimedia exhibit based on filmmaker Jackie Olive's documentary about racial terrorism, 'Always in Season,' is one of many events included in this year's SARUS Festival. Courtesy Photo.
A multimedia exhibit based on filmmaker Jackie Olive’s documentary about racial terrorism, ‘Always in Season,’ is one of many events included in this year’s SARUS Festival. Courtesy photo.

When the SARUS Festival swoops into downtown Wilmington this weekend, it will be with a specific purpose: to challenge, question and overcome society’s metaphorical walls.

The theme of the fourth annual site-specific and experimental art event, which kicks off Saturday, is “Barriers, Borders, Terrortoriality.”

Named after the sarus crane and founded by the Alban Elved Dance Company, which long used the bird as its symbol, the festival aims to bring in non-commercial, interdisciplinary art and performances from local, regional and international artists.

It runs this year from Aug. 15 to Aug. 23 at various venues around the Port City, including Bellamy Mansion Museum, Wabi Sabi Warehouse, Jengo’s Playhouse and Greenfield Lake. This year the festival has as its hub a studio within the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, 120 S. Second St.

The nine-day festival will include 45 directing arts, 70 performers of all ages, parties and even a mid-day fundraiser shindig, complete with live music and lots of beer, at Flytrap Brewing in the Brooklyn Arts District.

The event opens with a free art exhibit and celebration at 6 p.m. Saturday at Wabi Sabi, 19 N. Ninth St.

Among other events throughout the festival are German artist Peter Verboten’s “Everyday – Homeplay,” a performance piece based on interviews with Wilmingtonians about his home country that also examines creative expression in small living spaces.

Cucalorus artist in residence Jackie Olive, who is currently wrapping up a documentary on lynching in America, will present the multimedia installation, “Terrorism,” Sunday, Aug. 23 at Bellamy Mansion.

SARUS also includes a number of ballet and dance performances, as well as interactive avant garde pieces.

New this time around is a focus on youth engagement through workshops and events, such as “The Suitcase Garden,” a 30-minute theatrical dance production about the cycle of life, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at the community arts center.

Ticket prices to events vary. Click here to see a full schedule and more information.