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HOLD FAST Workshop + Program Schedule

HOLD FAST Festival is excited to offer an array of free workshops lead by our featured artists, local community groups, and friends of the festival. Some workshops and programs are drop-ins. For others, click the links in the descriptions to register in advance and save your spot!

2023 Featured Artists // Workshops & Programs // Art Crawl

Venue Accessibility Information



Relaxing Creativity with Christine Hennebury
12-1:30pm, Eastern Edge Studio

We’re going to be playing around with the creative process and finding ways to relax. Christine has a few teeny projects for you to try and she’s hoping you’ll be willing to be awful at each of them. Yes, she’s encouraging you to be bad at art! Why? Because this workshop is about the process, not about the results. Bonus points and gold stars if you make a glorious mess of things. All supplies will be provided and no one will be put on the spot about anything. Suitable for all ages!


Costume Model Session with IceberGallery Artist Network
1:30-4pm, Bannerman Brewing

Bring a sketch book! Bring a camera! Join your friendly local artist network IceberGallery for a drop-in model drawing/photo/art session… with a surprise costume that may or may not involve roller skates. BYO art supplies and a willingness to try something new. All visual art media & experience levels are welcome. Register HERE.


Sacred Harp Sing with Christian Dauble
2-4pm, Anglican Cathedral

Join musician & folklorist Christian Dauble (they/them) for a joyful introduction to Sacred Harp (or Shape Note singing). Sacred Harp is a style of four-part hymnody with roots in colonial-era New England. It’s designed to be belted out by singers with no formal training, the more strong voices the better! This workshop is open to all experience levels and all vocal ranges, and welcomes singers of all backgrounds and genders.


Professional Headshots with Jessica Brown & the Northern Film Initiative
3-5pm, Alt Hotel

Get a free professional headshot at the Northern Film Initiative’s pop-up event for artists in the community! Enjoy a snack and engage with the NFI’s staff and volunteers to learn more about our non-profit organization’s mission to Indigenize Atlantic Canada’s screen sector. Join us and take advantage of this opportunity to connect with fellow artists, receive a valuable service, and support Indigenous filmmakers and media artists in the region.


SJIWFF: Films on the Go with The Collective (YWCA) & Eastern Edge
6-7:30, Eastern Edge

Films On The Go is a selection of short films made by women and gender-diverse filmmakers from across Canada. Presented courtesy of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, this 1-hour lineup explores self-acceptance, belonging, and community.

We’ll be joined by special guests, local filmmakers Jessica Brown, Amanda Gear, and Shan Pomeroy, whose work features in the evening’s program.


Back-Stitch Basics with Kevin Melanson
6:30-8:30pm, Craft Council 

Back-Stitch Basics is a beginner-level embroidery workshop where attendees will learn the ins and outs of one versatile stitch, the back-stitch. We will be drawing simple shapes onto fabric with a marker, and will then outline them and fill them in with colour using embroidery. This workshop requires no prior knowledge of embroidery techniques. Hoops, fabric, needles, and floss will be provided, but feel free to bring your own! Register through the Craft Council website HERE. This workshop is open to folks 16+.


Move Your Body, Babe with Jenna Slaney (Holly Rancher)
7:30-9pm, First Light CPAC, 42 Bannerman St.

Move Your Body, Babe! is a workshop for everybody and EVERY BODY! Guided by Jenna Slaney (Holly Rancher), this workshop will provide a safe(r) space for movers of all body types, gender identities, and ability/experience level to explore self love through movement and building self confidence and body lovin’! All that is needed is your beautiful self, in clothing that is easy to move in and makes you feel most confident, and some water! This workshop is open to folks 18+. REGISTER HERE. 



Experimental Film Challenge with the Nickel Film Festival
Kickoff: 11am Wednesday, due 11am Saturday, register here!

Create a one-minute experimental film! Participation is free, non-competitive, and open to all. Films must be written, shot, and edited between 11am on Wednesday, August 23rd and 11am on Saturday, August 26th (Newfoundland Standard Time). To register and receive your unique film prompt at the kickoff, click here!


Nickel Film Lab #1 with Mike Fardy & the Nickel Film Festival
1-4pm, Lawnya Vawnya

Part film studio, part co-working space, part drop-in workshop operating daily at the Lawnya Vawnya space with filmmaking mentors on hand to offer support. Nickel Film Lab is particularly well suited for participants taking part in our Experimental Film Challenge, but it’s open to all. No pre-registration required – drop in and have fun!


Drawing our Inner Worlds with Georgia Webber
3-5pm, Eastern Edge Gallery

This workshop brings together somatic explorations and large scale drawing of the body to facilitate curiosity about our our inner landscapes. Participants will be guided through gentle, choice-based meditations, followed by tracing their bodies and filling the traced images with their felt patterns, textures, and worlds. This workshop is trauma-informed and pleasure-centric, with choice at its heart. All prompts are invitations, and all agency is respected. REGISTER HERE. 


Vibrant Depths: Exploring Negative Painting in Watercolour with Luanne Dominix
5-8pm, Anna Templeton Centre

Participants of all skills levels are invited to explore the transformative technique of negative space in water-colour. Through step-by-step demonstrations and personalized guidance, you’ll learn to infuse your artworks with vibrancy and depth, unlocking the power of negative painting to create captivating compositions. No watercolour experience is required. All materials will be provided but participants are welcome to bring their own material to explore. REGISTER HERE. 


Chroma Keying Textiles with featured artist Ale Monreal
6-9pm, East Coast Quilt Co.

Turn your embroidery into stop-motion animation! Then learn how Chroma Keying (“green-screening”) can layer your animated stitches over existing videos to produce a digital motion collage. It’s helpful to bring a smartphone, as we will be using a free app to bring it all to digital life. Participants will have the option to display their work as part of the HOLD FAST Art Crawl. No experience necessary! Register through East Coast Quilt Co’s website HERE.

Global Music

7-8pm, The Rooms

Celebrate the diversity of talent in our community. This series is part of an initiative led by MusicNL and the Association for New Canadians to increase representation and recognition from immigrant musicians in our province. Free! All ages welcome. Bring your own blanket to enjoy some music on the lawn! Featuring performances by: Reza, Sunflower Duo, Ana & Eric



Nickel Film Lab #2 with Mike Fardy & the Nickel Film Festival
1-4pm, Lawnya Vawnya

Part film studio, part co-working space, part drop-in workshop operating daily at the Lawnya Vawnya space with filmmaking mentors on hand to offer support. Nickel Film Lab is particularly well suited for participants taking part in our Experimental Film Challenge, but it’s open to all. No pre-registration required – drop in and have fun!


Exploring Local Queer History Using the Wayback Machine, with Daze Jefferies & Derrick Bishop
2-4pm, Craft Council Gallery, 155 Water Street

Join Daze and Derrick Bishop, former chair of Newfoundland Gays and Lesbians for Equality (NGALE), on a journey through archived websites that preserve fragments of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2SLGBTQIA+ (queer) history. We’ll discuss the role of the internet in bringing together queer and trans community throughout the 90s and early aughts, and fostering intergenerational dialogue about solidarity and social change. Playing with text, images, clipart, gifs, and ephemera encountered on the websites, we will create a collaborative digital Jamboard collage. REGISTER HERE. 


You’re Zine (seen) at HOLD FAST with Niya Abdullahi
5-7pm, Eastern Edge Studio 

What’s in a zine? This workshop will begin with a brief introduction to the highly accessible art of zinemaking. We’ll talk as we work, discussing connections between various forms of print-based storytelling and self-publishing. Create your own mini-zine, and contribute to the first-ever HOLD FAST Festival Zine! Open to beginners, veteran zinesters, and anyone in between. REGISTER HERE. 


Launch Party
7-8:30pm, The WELL Room, 363 Duckworth St.
with Riddle Fence Readers and music by Loopstitch

Celebrate the launch of the 24th HOLD FAST Festival and the 49th issue of Riddle Fence magazine! Featuring readings by Nicole Haldoupis, Katherine Alexandra Harvey, Krissi Stocks, and Christina Wells. Refreshments provided by Poyo + The Sprout, and music by Loopstitch.


in the whiteness, outdoor film screening with featured artist Niya Abdullahi, presented by NIFCO
9-10pm, 154 Water Street parking lot

Come experience this stunningly beautiful film, in-person and larger than life! in the whiteness is an experimental short film which will be playing on a loop for one hour after dark. You won’t want to miss it!



Knitting in Code with Admiralty House & AAMP
11am-2pm, Alt Hotel green room

Do you like knitting? So do we! Don’t know how? Come learn with us! Join Admiralty House & Association for the Arts Mount Pearl for a friendly drop-in workshop and learn how to knit a miniature Nautical Flag! All experience levels are welcome and supplies will be provided (or you can bring your own).


Experimental Cinema on a Micro Budget with featured artist Niya Abdullahi, presented by the Nickel Film Festival
1-4pm, Lawnya Vawnya, 4 Clift’s-Baird’s Cove

Come join a very immersive workshop into the world of experimental filmmaking. Learn the ins and out of making an out-of-this-world film on a micro budget. There will be some time to work up a little movie of your own. All you’ll need is a handy smartphone, and we’ll have other gear and materials on hand for you to test out. No pre-registration required – drop in and have fun!


Exquisite Musical Corpse with Idlefield Collective
3-5pm, Eastern Edge Studio

What happens when we take the randomized drawing game “Exquisite Corpse” and apply it to music? This workshop is for those who want to collaborate in spontaneous and unexpected ways, no matter your musical ability. Each participant adds tracks to a song they haven’t heard. Layer by layer, these sounds, words and ideas will form a new and unexpected creation. In the process, you’ll learn about multitrack recording and mixing in the unique context of an all-analog set up. What sonic wonders and horrors will we create? Sign up to find out! REGISTER HERE. 


Fancy Artist Talks
7-9:30pm, Eastern Edge

Fancy Artist Talks are the calm at the eye of the storm: a breath of stillness before the colourful, vibrant, chaos of Saturday’s Art Crawl. For featured artists, this evening is a time to share stories about themselves, their process, and their work. For attendees, it’s a chance to dress up in whatever makes you feel fancy, sip unique themed drinks, and gain a deeper appreciation for the art you’re about to see. Featuring: Niya Abdullahi, Daze Jefferies, Georgia Webber, Ale Monreal, and Idlefield Collective!




2-8pm, throughout downtown St. John’s

Get out of the gallery and into the streets of St. John’s! Experience a colourful buffet of installations, performances, pop-up galleries, hands-on demos, crafts, and activities. Art Crawl is made possible by the support of our community. We hope you’ll love it!