Wednesday night, registered and interested artists and businesses attended a meeting at Westbank Blenz to gather information about Westside Culture Days. Everyone also gained a clearer idea of what was going to happen and what they could do.
Simply put, Westside Culture Days aims to unite our scattered community, whether WFN or DWK, by presenting a unified presence of businesses, artists and partners working together to demonstrate that this side of the lake is actually very rich in cultural and community entities.
When I say artists I am referring to all creatives, whether painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, literary, dance, performance or other. The definition of culture in my mind, is really diverse because I believe culture is what we do everyday. It is knitting, sewing, golf, volunteering, or any community group you can think of. Our Canadian and local culture includes hockey, of course!
I believe that the majority of westside people believe in their community and that they are not happy with the status quo of apathy and distance. I believe that no one likes to see businesses closing. I believe that as more local businesses and community members hear about what is happening, they will want to get involved. I believe that those who participate are those who are at the leading edge of this culture change.
Westside Culture Days is looking for artists/community partners and businesses on the westside to join those who have already registered such as Blenz, WFN Museum, both RBC banks, both TD banks, the BMO bank, the Food Bank, Volcanic Winery, City Furniture, Libertine’s, Dogwood Nursery, Second Cup, Curves, Mad Hatter and JK Schmidt Jewellers. While this is not a complete list, it gives an idea of the diversity in both location and business focus.
So how do you get involved you ask? Everyone is welcome. Businesses, look at your customer base first Artists or cultural groups, which businesses do you frequent?
The range of activities can include partners having information on display to artists having work available, being on site painting to demonstrations, workshops or talks. What happens in each business is a direct result of the agreement reached between that business and the partner they are working with.
Partnerships have been created at Westbank Shopping Centre that involve art, music and the Food Bank. The Westbank Shopping Centre landlord Bentall-Kennedy has shown support by sponsoring their shopping centre activities which makes sense because Bentall-Kennedy wants to see their tenants succeed.
Dogwood Nursery, for example, will have 12 or 13 well known artists present painting, and Ingrid Schellenberg playing the harp. The new WFN Museum will have half hour fun phonetic language classes presented by Jordan Coble for those would like to learn pronunciation of the Okanagan language. He’s a terrific teacher, by the way, he even taught me some words. If you haven’t been in the new WFN Heritage Museum, then go. It’s right by the Sears Flooring on Old Okanagan Highway.
The public will be encouraged to participate for Culture Days and visit participating businesses. The public will re-discover what resources they have on the westside. The businesses will gain a broader customer base, and learn from their partner while their partner is learning from them. The focus is connections, community interaction, education, vibrancy, and exploration. It will be a great weekend to get out and rediscover your community, so mark off September 26, 27 and 28. It’s going to be vibrant!
If you are an artist or other creative who would like to participate, or if you are a community group, who would like a chance to get your message out, then register at http://bit.ly/CultureDaysA If you are a business who would like to participate, register at http://bit.ly/CultureDaysB. More information is on the website http://www.WestsideCultureDays.com, and we are also on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/WestsideCultureDays. Let’s connect!
In the coming weeks, I’ll present focused articles on the progress and highlights for the events. What was presented last night by the partners is very exciting and I can hardly wait to tell you!
Julia Trops is a Westside artist and author of the book Art & Money. Email info@WestsideCultureDays.com
Thank you to Westside Weekly for publishing these articles!