Bent On Art Returns to Kootenays as a Virtual Festival

Sorely missed in 2020, Bent On Art: Kootenay Queer & Trans Art Festival returns for 2021 in an online format. Join us virtually for a series of events designed to promote the work of LGBTQ+ artists in the Kootenays (and across British Columbia) while creating educational opportunities, fostering community connection & promoting resilience through the arts. The festival was founded by Samonte Cruz in 2018 & is now delivered in partnership with Samonte Cruz Studios and the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council. 

This year’s theme focuses on Queer & Trans Resilience – and over the month of March we will be engaging local artists in a daily art challenge, culminating in an online exhibition and Q&A session on March 28. We will also be offering a Queer & Trans Life Drawing Workshop, as facilitated by Nadia Moss. Our virtual festivities will also include a string of streamed performances on March 27 from some of our favourite BC-based performers, finishing with a “Meet & Greet” Q&A session. Selected artists are: 

Onibana Taiko (Vancouver, BC / Japan)
Mother Girth (Penticton, BC)
Smokii Sumac (Kimberley, BC)
The Dancing Legs (Nelson, BC)
t wolfe (Nelson, BC)
Marloe Blu (Nelson, BC)
We have hand-selected six local Queer & Trans artists to take on a daily art endeavor related to the festival’s theme, which we’ve dubbed the #BentOnArtChallenge. We are also encouraging any and all members of the public to participate (opening the focus up to any interpretation of resilience) with giveaways from local sponsors as incentives - believing firmly that making space in our lives for creative exploration is a tangible way to cultivate resilience. Our six chosen artists are: 
Vance Wright (Nelson, BC)
Nichola Hare (Nelson, BC)
Jimmie Dancer (Kimberley, BC)
Seed (Winlaw, BC)
sylvie Le sylvie (Winlaw, BC)
Gabor Lovas (Nelson, BC)
Each Saturday in March we will be hosting a Queer & Trans Life Drawing Workshop, as guided by Montreal’s Nadia Moss - who has joined us to facilitate similar workshops in person at past editions of Bent On Art. Nadia has taught drawing and performance at the college and university level for more than 7 years - and we are thrilled to have them instruct virtually in 2021. Selected participants must reside in the Kootenay region, with priority going to QTBIPOC artists.  

Press inquiries for more information or interview requests with the festival’s director and curator, Samonte Cruz, can be directed to

For updates, follow us on: 
Facebook @BentOnArtFest 
Instagram @BentOnArtFest 
#BentOnArtFest #BentOnArt2021 #BentOnArtChallenge 

Last year brought with it many unforeseen challenges & hardships. The world was confronted with a deadly global pandemic; while the murder of George Floyd ignited the Black Lives Matter movement to take action in order to end police violence against Black, Indigenous & People of Colour. In discussing plans for Bent On Art, curators Maggie Shirley & Samonte Cruz, were struck by how 2020 events were reflected in queer & trans history, as well as more contemporary experiences. This festival is presented as a collective interpretation of how to seek out resilience in the face of such adversity by way of artistic expression, while supporting creative development and enhancing community relations. 

Bent On Art is organized on the traditional and unceded territories of the Sinixt, who are not extinct. We also acknowledge that there are overlapping land claims of the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc and Syilx Nations through the colonial land claims process. We respect this land and graciously defer to the knowledge and wisdom of the indigenous elders of this territory.