Arts & Culture

Province funds arts, cultural activities for BC Culture Days

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:41 PDT, Fri September 23, 2022

Last Updated: 11:55 PDT, Tue October 11, 2022

To celebrate BC Culture Days, from today through Oct. 16, the province is providing support for free and affordable activities and events throughout British Columbia.

"In Canada, and here in B.C., Culture Days is an invitation to residents, and everyone who makes our province so dynamic, to celebrate who we are and where we came from," said Melanie Mark, Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport. "We are proud to proclaim BC Culture Days and to support communities with free and affordable events that celebrate our diverse history—together."

In Richmond, activities include a public art walking tour, workshops with Branscombe House artist-in-residence Krystal Kiran, and a Cantonese opera concert.

The opening ceremony for BC Culture Days 2022 was held today in Vernon. It was organized by the Arts Council of North Okanagan, in partnership with Tourism Vernon and hosted on Okanagan Indian Band land. Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, attended the ceremony to present the provincial proclamation on behalf of Mark. The event featured interactive art activities and performances, and served as the official launch for other community events throughout the province being held during the month-long recognition.

"Culture Days is an important nationwide designation to strengthen and increase awareness, appreciation, participation, and engagement in the arts and cultural life of communities," Sandhu said. "In B.C., we have so much to celebrate. This province's vibrant culture enriches our lives in countless ways and makes our communities inspiring and dynamic places to live and raise our families. It is through sharing our culture that we grow closer as a community."

Culture Days is administered by the Society to Bridge Arts and Community, under its sister organization the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture, and supported by a $60,000 grant from the province. The society works alongside a provincial volunteer taskforce and steering committee, as well as numerous community arts and cultural organizations, and municipalities to provide free or affordable events and activities in communities throughout the province. This year's recognition provides an opportunity for people to attend in-person events to show their support for artists after a difficult two years brought on by the pandemic.

In addition to community celebrations, each year emerging artists are appointed as BC Culture Days ambassadors. These artists are given the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program with an established artist and contribute to a creative project aimed at enhancing community engagement. This year, the ambassadors will be presenting a series of micro-documentaries to be shared on the BC Culture Days website.

The BC Arts Council also provided funding for this year's Culture Days, including:

• $5,000 for local artists and production expenses for the Vernon Culture Days festival hub and launch event

• $30,000 through the Arts Impact Grant for Earth Endeavours led by BC Culture Days ambassadors

The BC Culture Days Ambassador program is aimed at breaking down systemic barriers for artists in under-served communities and drawing diverse audiences through culturally accessible programming and professional development opportunities. BC Culture Days 2021 featured 464 activities registered in 60 communities throughout B.C. National survey results indicate that 10 per cent of British Columbians (approximately 500,000 people) attended Culture Days events in 2021, the highest rate of any province.

To learn more about BC Culture Days, visit culturedays.ca/en/bc

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