Prismatic this weekend | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

It’s tough enough to make a living as a professional artist---especially in a city like Halifax where there’s no municipal or provincial arts council support---but for artists from culturally diverse backgrounds, there are more challenges to be faced. Often artists are relegated to multicultural events or special occasions, rather than accepted as mainstream theatre, dance, film, literature or visual art. OneLight Theatre’s artistic director Shahin Sayadi wants to address these barriers head-on with Prismatic, a three-day conference and showcase that puts the spotlight on both performers and their work.According to Sayadi, this is the third time he’s organized a similar conference but this year, under the Prismatic moniker, he’s aiming for it to become an annual event, focusing more on the performances. He hopes that by presenting all these artists together, it will inspire younger generations to make a go of it here---to give them hope that there can be a future as an artist in Halifax.On Friday and Saturday nights there are showcases at Neptune Studio (8pm, $19-$25, 429-7070) with Shauntay Grant, El Jones, Maria Osende, Marko Simmonds, Deep River Boys, Sa-Mul-Nori, Gina Burgess and Ziya Tabassian, weaving together their respective talents---spoken word, poetry, flamenco, gospel music, jazz and Korean and Iranian drumming---into a single performance.During the day on Saturday, over 50 artists have already signed up for panel discussions and workshops with artists from across the country, including Boca del Lupo (Vancouver), Concrete Theatre (Montreal), b-current (Toronto), Native Earth Performing Arts (Toronto), plus various funding agencies and stage unions. On Sunday morning, head back to Studio Theatre for an open mic, where all you common people can get those arts-related rants and opinions off your chests, followed by an afternoon workshop on the art of funding, with hands-on info. from the experts. For more information on this entertaining and enlightening weekend, go to

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