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HOLD FAST is a four-day celebration of contemporary art held each August in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The festival is organized by Eastern Edge Gallery, the province’s first artist-run-centre.

HOLD FAST is a maelstrom of creative energy.
HOLD FAST is the anchor and the storm.

Building on the energy of our previous festivals (previously known as The 24-Hour Art Marathon and subsequently the Art Marathon Festival), HOLD FAST encompasses installation, performance, screenings, artist talks, community events, and workshops for people of all ages.

We are excited to once again feature the downtown ART CRAWL – St. John’s only event of its kind. Growing in size and scope, artists from across Canada present projects throughout the city over the course of a single evening. This year’s Crawl concludes with a night of concerts at The Ship Pub, hosted by Shed Island Music Festival.

For 2015, a brand new and improved art “marathon” joins the festival: the ART SPRINT. The Sprint is a seven-hour live event featuring artists of all ages, levels of experience, and backgrounds as they participate in seven lively art challenges.

Bringing the festival to a close, Eastern Edge presents a members’ exhibition and art auction, welcoming the public to view and silently bid on artworks contributed by gallery members and created through the Art Sprint.

All HOLD FAST events are free and open to all.

By connecting artists and the public, Eastern Edge strives to maintain its commitment to supporting visual artists while increasing public awareness, understanding, and access to contemporary modes of expression.

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Alexandra Beriault holds a BFA in Sculpture and Installation from OCAD University, graduating as the recipient of the 2014 Sculpture/Installation Medal. Over the course of her studies, she has developed a practice in which the objects and circumstances she creates manifest as burdensome or purgatorial experiences. Beriault’s work has been featured in various publications including The Varsity (University of Toronto), C Magazine, and The Senses and Society. She has performed solo and collaborative projects at The Artist Project, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Toronto International, and the Ontario Science Centre, and has participated in performance festivals in Italy and Toronto. Beriault currently lives and works in Toronto.


Kyle Bustin is a mural painter, graphic designer, and multimedia artist. He graduated from Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus in 2011 and since then has called St. John’s his home. His murals can be seen in a number of places around the city including the Janeway Children’s Hospital, Memorial University, and Eastern Edge Gallery. He is currently working on a project in Scanlan’s Lane. His work is brightly coloured, energetic, and draws its inspiration from digital culture. From September 2014 to January 2015, his solo show, Digital Beasts, was exhibited in The Rooms Provincial Gallery. In the spring of 2015, Kyle was awarded VANL-CARFAC’s Emerging Artist EVA award. In the fall of 2015 he will begin an MFA program at the University of Ottawa.


Joe Fowler is a multidisciplinary artist from Corner Brook, Newfoundland. He received a BFA from Memorial University Grenfell Campus in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, respectively, he was the recipient of an NLAC Professional Project Grant and the Cox and Palmer Pivotal Point Grant. His work is characterized by an investigation of everyday objects, nostalgia, and the absurd. Joe currently lives in St. John’s, NL and draws much of his inspiration from the people, sounds, and visuals of the city.


Raphaële Frigon is a neurovariant queer artist working in Montreal. She explores the relationships between technology, identity and biology using media such as film, electronic circuits and agar plates. She has performed and exhibited in a wide variety of contexts since 2005; in abandoned buildings as well as at MUTEK, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Mois Multi, and Pop Montreal. She operated l’Envers from 2009 to 2011: a music and performance space. She is interested by biomedical anthropology, DIY surgeries and motherhood.


Amy Fung is a roaming cultural commentator, arts writer, and events/exhibition organizer. Her research interests usually involve ongoing considerations of identity politics, social engagement, and a sense of place. Her commissioned writings for monographs approach arts writing as a creative and critical platform. She has been a past Contributing Editor to FUSE Magazine and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Art Metropole. Her published writings and exhibitions and events have taken place throughout Europe, North America, and the UK. As of Fall 2014, Fung has been appointed Artistic Director of The Images Festival.


Allison Graves (pictured right) is a student and writer from Guelph, Ontario who moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to pursue an English degree at Dalhousie University. Having moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland to seek an internship with Riddle Fence Magazine, Allison has accepted an offer to study English and Creative Writing at Memorial University in the coming two years. Now that she’s screeched in, she plans to take advantage of this cool city in her creative endeavours and keep kissing cods.

Receiving her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCADU), Amery Sandford (pictured left) is a print artist making work at St. Michael’s Printshop under the Don Wright Scholarship. Her thematic interests lie in cultural construction, tourism, youth culture, and public understanding of Canadian history. Her favourite things about Newfoundland to date are thick cut bacon, Jockey Club beer, and the insulated but expanding artist community.


Robert Hengeveld is an artist whose work explores the boundaries between reality and fiction, and where we find ourselves within that relationship. He completed his MFA at the University of Victoria in 2005 and studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at the University of Guelph in the School of Environmental Science. His work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally. Past and upcoming exhibition venues include The Power Plant (Toronto), Hallwalls Contemporary (Buffalo), MacDonald Stewart (Guelph), EyeLevel Gallery (Halifax), Mercer Union (Toronto), and Mulherin Pollard (NYC).


Kathy Oke is a multidisciplinary artist based in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is a graduate of the Visual Arts Program at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, holding a BFA. With an interest in subjects ranging from the physics of light to philosophy and body image, Oke experiments with light projection, digital media, paint and printmaking to explore her own queries about identity, beauty, art and tradition.


Jason Penney is a multi-media artist from St. John’s whose work uses a combination of sculptural, theatrical, and video elements. Their work pertains to the consumption and corruption of desire, material cultures need to construct losers and underdogs, and how representation and design aesthetics define lifestyle achievements and construct social values.


Jason Ross Sellars is an artist, performer, and art educator. He has had his hand in helping with many theatrical and visual art projects and has been working in his home province at The Rooms as a public programmer and art gallery educator for nearly a decade. Jason has a Bachelor of Fine Art from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and was selected as the Memorial University Arts Educator of the Year in 2014 by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. He is ecstatic to be a part of the 2015 HOLD FAST festival.


Jes Sachse is a Toronto-based author and artist obsessed with disability culture, public art, digital futures, & the post-industrial malaise of the millennial. Foremost a storyteller, their concept-driven work defies media loyalty, using sarcasm and contradiction to juxtapose disability archetypes with self-representations, from the framed confines of photographic portraiture to large-scale sculpture, pervading the nexus of public and private spaces. Jes has become known for the particularly provocative and unapologetic nature of their work, wielded from a genderqueer, crip, and general badass identity. They are currently working on their first graphic novel, Gutter, generously funded by the Toronto Arts Council.‎


Sherwin Sullivan Tjia is a Montreal-based artist and writer. He has shown internationally at Birmingham’s Fierce Festival and at Sopot, Poland’s ArtLoop Festival. His book, The World is a Heartbreaker, a collection of 1600 pseudohaikus, was a finalist for the Quebec Writer’s Federation’s A.M. Klein Poetry Award. The Hipless Boy, his graphic novel, was a finalist for the Doug Wright Award in the Best Emerging Talent category, and was also nominated for four Ignatz Awards.



Click here to view the Festival Program PDF.

Follow the black links below for more info on each event.
Follow the purple links below to learn more about our partner organizations.

Family launch
12 pm – 2 pm BBQ in partnership with Choices for Youth
2 pm – 4 pm An Introduction to Street Art: Learning to Wheat Paste
Workshop for teens with Kyle Bustin
Street Spirit Art Party!
Workshop for kids 12 and under with Jason Ross-Sellars
Festival launch
7 pm – 12 am Fancy Artist Talks
Our festival artists discuss their work alongside designer cocktails!
Followed by good music and even better dance moves.
Generously sponsored by Quidi Vidi Brewery!
12 pm – 2 pm Before I Was An Art Critic I Was A Human Being
A public workshop on art writing with Images Festival Director Amy Fung
2:30 – 3:30 pm How to fall on your face
A public workshop with festival artist Alex Beriault
4 pm – 5 pm Community Circuit: Queer Resilience and Electrical Resistance
A public workshop with festival artist Raphaele Frigon
7 pm – 8:30 pm Only Believe in Things That Are Easy to Understand
A touring series of short films curated by The Images Festival, Toronto.
Co-presented by The Rooms, Eastern Edge Gallery, and Images.
The screening takes place in the auditorium of The Rooms, at 9 Bonaventure Ave.
12 pm – 2 pm BBQ in partnership with Happy City
12 pm – 7 pm ART SPRINT
For the 2015 festival, Eastern Edge is launching a brand new event: The ART SPRINT, a seven-hour marathon that will feature artists of all ages, levels of experience and backgrounds, as they participate in seven lively art challenges.
The Sprint takes place at Gateacre Garage (at the corner of Harbour Drive and Baird’s Cove).
7 pm – 11 pm ART CRAWL
Alex Beriault (Toronto): Study In Gravity
Gallery 24 | 71 Casey St.
Raphaele Frigon (Montreal): Diamonds under my skin
(The performance will begin at 9:30pm and last approximately thirty minutes.)
The Rocket Room at Rocket Bakery | 272 Water St.
Robert Hengeveld (Toronto): Can Crusher
Fogtown | 134 Water St.
Kathy Oke & Joe Fowler (St. John’s): Pretty Young Thing
Artist studios at 177 Water St., second floor
Jason Penney (St. John’s): Wallpaper
George Street Stage
Amery Sandford & Allison Graves (St. John’s): Maybe, Probably
St. Michael’s Printshop | 72 Harbour Dr.
Jes Sachse (Toronto): Freedom Tube
St. John’s City Hall | 10 New Gower Street
Sherwin Sullivan Tjia (Montreal): Cardboard Party
Eastern Edge Gallery | 72 Harbour Dr.
11 pm – 3 am HOLD FAST AFTERPARTY in partnership with Shed Island
The Ship | 265 Duckworth St.
12 pm – 2 pm BBQ in partnership with VANL-CARFAC
12 pm – 4 pm Art Exhibition and Auction
Finishing off this year’s festival, Eastern Edge will host an exhibition and art auction. This event welcomes the public to view and silently bid on artworks made during this year’s seven-hour ART SPRINT, as well as submissions from members of Eastern Edge Gallery.


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We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of all of our sponsors, partners, and supporters.


HOLD FAST 2015 Platinum Sponsors:

HOLD FAST 2015 Gold Sponsors:

HOLD FAST 2015 Silver Sponsors:

HOLD FAST 2015 Bronze Sponsors: