Farewell to Tomas Jonsson!
Following an incredible six-year term as Artistic Director of Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival, Tomas Jonsson announced his departure early this year. During his tenure as Artistic Director, Jonsson facilitated three outstanding festivals and countless other programs in support of performative art practices, dialogue, and engagement in Southern Alberta.
A key figure throughout the history of M:ST, Jonsson was involved in the very roots of the festival as a volunteer at The New Gallery during their monthly performance art open-mic project, Space for Space, which ran between 1998-2002 and foregrounded the need for establishing a festival of performative art in Southern Alberta. During M:ST 1 in 2001, Jonsson sat on the Board of Directors of The New Gallery and in 2003 and 2005, he was involved in the programming of the second and third iterations of the festival as a staff member of The New Gallery. Although he had left Calgary to pursue a degree and employment elsewhere, Jonsson was also involved in the fourth M:ST Festival as a presenting artist. During this festival year, Jonsson wrote Public Incorporated, a written response to the artists and projects in the M:ST Event Architecture Series. Upon returning to Calgary, Jonsson immediately joined the Board of Directors of M:ST.
Following many fruitful years of participating as a volunteer, board member, and artist, Jonsson took on the position of Artistic Director in 2011. From 2011 – 2017, the festival grew to encompass presentation, mentorship, professional development, and publication as core activities in support of performative art practices both during festival and non-festival years. Jonsson’s commitment to fostering the development of performative practices as well as their presentation led to many outstanding M:ST projects and performances including, BBB Johannes Deimling and Marcel Sparman’s PAS Performance Art Studies workshop; The Life and Times of Buffalo Boy, a monograph on the work of Adrian Stimson; the fourth iteration of the Screening of Performance Art in the Natural Environment (SPANE), which has since toured internationally; a tribute to the life and work of Kenneth Doren at The National Music Centre; and a performance of ISHI by internationally acclaimed performance and visual artist James Luna accompanied by Sheila Skinner.
Jonsson’s dedication and mentorship will be greatly missed by those who were fortunate enough to work with him during his time at M:ST. On behalf of the many artists, volunteers, board members, and staff, both past and present, thank you for your incredible passion and vision, we wish you all the best!
Tomas participating in YAGA by Desearch Repartment, presented at Stride Gallery for M:ST 8. Photo credit: Jessica MacCormack.