Shaking up Whistler's arts and music scene - Pique Newsmagazine - Canadanewsmedia
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Shaking up Whistler's arts and music scene – Pique Newsmagazine

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One unseasonably chilly evening this August, crowds gathered around the stage at Whistler Olympic Plaza enraptured by a septuagenarian with boundless energy and a distinct warble.

Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Cree Canadian-American musician who has won an array of awards over her 50-plus-year career, shared stories of her activism, displayed her wide-ranging repertoire, and, as a whole, offered everyone in the crowd something to aspire to.

To top it all off was a special, impromptu moment in which Lil’wat Nation drummers in the crowd slowly and subtly broke into song as everyone was waiting patiently for an encore.

It was not a show I ever thought I would see—for free, no less—in Whistler. The Whistler Presents Summer Concert Series officially wrapped up last weekend and I would argue it’s the best lineup I’ve seen in my seven years here.

As a whole, it struck a perfect balance for a free outdoor series that has to have mass appeal and still draw discerning music fans. The names were big, the music compelling, and the genres diverse.

Considering I serve as Pique’s arts editor, it’s perhaps not surprising to hear that I spent a lot of time thinking about Whistler’s arts and music scene. I could easily present an in-depth analysis here, but that might be anticlimactic after the monkeying around that was last week’s editorial.

Instead, I’ll say this: Whistler’s arts scene has been on a remarkable upward trajectory since I first took this seat in 2012.

And that’s never been more apparent than it has looking at the art events taking place this fall. For one, the Audain Art Museum (which is certainly to thank for its share of interesting art events in the resort in the last several years), is hosting its new exhibit, Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing, starting on Sept. 21. Rather than an offering an array of Carr’s paintings, it will examine three specific years in her career and the impact it had on her work.

Across the street at the Maury Young Arts Centre, Arts Whistler is also set to host the premiere of útszantszan, a one-woman play written and starring Yvonne Wallace, a member of the Lil’wat Nation who grew up in Mount Currie. The play—which centres around the relationship between an aunt and her niece and focuses on the importance of language—is running for four nights, which is a first for the venue in my memory.

For context, even the uber-popular Chairlift Revue, which featured a series of skits that all take place on a chairlift, only ran two nights in a row.

It’s a bold move on Arts Whistler’s part—putting on a one-person show that’s partly in Ucwalmícwts language—but one that’s worthwhile.

Arts Whistler has spent the last several years establishing the fall season under the slogan “Fall for Arts.” Summer sports are winding down, October rain is arriving, and the mountains are not yet open. Why not head indoors (or, in the case of the Hear and Now Festival, throw on a sweater and enjoy some local bands around the village) and enjoy some time taking in art?

It’s worked. With a non-stop list of shoulder season events, it’s worth pushing the boundaries on what we expect a typical Whistler audience to enjoy—namely reggae, landscape art, or anything to do with mountain culture.

That’s not to say we should shun the tried-and-true favourites; rather, the time is right to expand offerings to include fresh, new, innovative art that, for whatever reason, we might not have been ready for.

In the past, it’s almost seemed greedy to ask for world-class art alongside our world-class mountain sports. Now, it seems inevitable.

So, if you want to see Whistler move in this direction, be sure to get out there and attend a new event or two this season. You just might be surprised by how much you enjoy something entirely different.

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PHOTOS: Huge crowd flocks to annual Mission Arts Council Christmas Craft Market – Mission City Record

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Heritage Park School was a hub of activity this weekend for the annual Mission Arts Council Christmas Craft Market.

Patrons stood shoulder to shoulder viewing everything from chocolates to knitted garments to metalwork and acrylic paintings offered by the more than 100 vendors.

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Non-profit Tides Contemporary Art Gallery opens in Kentville – The Guardian

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KENTVILLE, N.S. —

The Annapolis Valley’s newest art gallery is now open in Kentville. 

Tides Contemporary Art Gallery is non-profit gallery that features the work of more than a dozen established and emerging artists from Kings County and southwestern Nova Scotia.

It’s a project of the Kentville Art Gallery Society, and is the space formerly occupied by the Hardware Gallery, across the street from the Kings County Museum.

The new gallery is a co-op, with staffing provided mainly by the artists themselves and some volunteers. Operating costs are covered by membership fees, so the gallery already has its first year of expenses and marketing costs in the bank.

Gallery co-ordinator and society chair Bob Hainstock said the co-op model makes the most sense for a new gallery. 

“Private ownership starting a new gallery with private money, it’s just not happening anymore,” he said. 

The featured artists sit the gallery from one to three days a month, which means there are no staffing costs so money can be spent on marketing.

“To establish a gallery again in Kentville is going to take a lot of marketing.”

He said the gallery has a good mix. 

Bob Hainstock poses for a photo at the new Tides Contemporary Art Gallery in Kentville. Hainstock, the gallery co-ordinator, says co-ops are a good model when opening new galleries. – Ian Fairclough

A varied palette of artists

There are established artists with international reputations and exposure in top New York and Toronto galleries, as well as several some just beginning their exhibition experience. Artists will change their exhibition work every month.

Among those showing are Maggie Schmidt Mandell, Roy Mandell, Carolyn Mallory, Wayne Boucher and Gundrun Mueller-Both.

“We’ve  concentrated mainly on painters and print makers: the wall artists,” Hainstock said. “Now we have to make an effort to get the floor artists, the sculptors, the metal, fibre and wood people.”

There is a waiting list of about a dozen artists hoping to get into the gallery, and Hainstock said he would love to see more artist co-ops get established, and said the model has proven successful elsewhere.

The town owns the building and wants to sell, so Hainstock said it’s critical that the gallery achieve success during its two-year lease.

He said the society would also like to develop the second floor of the building and put in a print-makers co-op, potters co-op and an educational co-op that would put on classes and workshops in a huge array of arts and crafts mediums.

“We want to make this whole area very active, with a lot of traffic coming into Kentville to either look or take part in the arts and culture activities,” he said. 

“Arts and culture enterprises are providing a new energy and confidence in small towns, that you don’t have to bring in the big manufacturing plants or count on government jobs anymore.”

He said more and more people who are retiring, or nearing retirement age, are taking up interests in the arts “and finding out that they’re damn good at it. They’re getting a satisfaction of ‘hey, who knew I was an artist?’”

That also helps fuel galleries, he said. 

The gallery will also feature an art gift boutique and art rental program. The gift boutique will feature smaller, less expensive pieces. The art rental program is designed for home or office and includes rent-to-own features, as well as opportunities for business rewards to company employees or customers.

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Non-profit Tides Contemporary Art Gallery opens in Kentville – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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The Annapolis Valley’s newest art gallery is now open in Kentville. 

Tides Contemporary Art Gallery is non-profit gallery that features the work of more than a dozen established and emerging artists from Kings County and southwestern Nova Scotia.

It’s a project of the Kentville Art Gallery Society, and is the space formerly occupied by the Hardware Gallery, across the street from the Kings County Museum.

The new gallery is a co-op, with staffing provided mainly by the artists themselves and some volunteers. Operating costs are covered by membership fees, so the gallery already has its first year of expenses and marketing costs in the bank.

Gallery coordinator and society chair Bob Hainstock said the co-op model makes the most sense for a new gallery. 

“Private ownership starting a new gallery with private money, it’s just not happening anymore,” he said. 

The featured artists sit the gallery from one to three days a month, which means there are no staffing costs so money can be spent on marketing.

“To establish a gallery again in Kentville is going to take a lot of marketing.”

He said the gallery has a good mix. 

There are established artists with international reputations and exposure in top New York and Toronto galleries, as well as several some just beginning their exhibition experience. Artists will change their exhibition work every month.

Among those showing are Maggie Schmidt Mandell, Roy Mandell, Carolyn Mallory, Wayne Boucher and Gundrun Mueller-Both.

“We’ve  concentrated mainly on painters and print makers: the wall artists,” Hainstock said. “Now we have to make an effort to get the floor artists, the sculptors, the metal, fibre and wood people.”

There is a waiting list of about a dozen artists hoping to get into the gallery, and Hainstock said he would love to see more artist co-ops get established, and said the model has proven successful elsewhere.

The town owns the building and wants to sell, so Hainstock said it’s critical that the gallery achieve success during its two-year lease.

He said the society would also like to develop the second floor of the building and put in a print-makers co-op, potters co-op and an educational co-op that would put on classes and workshops in a huge array of arts and crafts mediums.

“We want to make this whole area very active, with a lot of traffic coming into Kentville to either look or take part in the arts and culture activities,” he said. 
“Arts and culture enterprises are providing a new energy and confidence in small towns, that you don’t have to bring in the big manufacturing plants or count on government jobs anymore.”

He said more and more people who are retiring, or nearing retirement age, are taking up interests in the arts “and finding out that they’re damn good at it. They’re getting a satisfaction of ‘hey, who knew I was an artist?’”

That also helps fuel galleries, he said. 

The gallery will also feature an art gift boutique and art rental program. The gift boutique will feature smaller, less expensive pieces. The art rental program is designed for home or office and includes rent-to-own features, as well as opportunities for business rewards to company employees or customers.

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