BC Culture Days Kicks Off This Friday!

The Government of British Columbia has officially proclaimed September 30, October 1 and October 2, 2016 as BC Culture Days

The seventh annual Culture Days weekend is a three-day celebration of arts, culture, and heritage through free, hands-on activities. The weekend celebrations will officially kick off on Kelowna's Westside, hosted by Westbank First Nation, the City of West Kelowna, and Peachland Arts Council. More than 600 free activities will be offered across the province, taking the public behind the scenes of local arts and cultural communities.

“Arts and culture contribute to a positive quality of life and well-being and are at the heart of the creative economy, one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the world," said the Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. "BC Culture Days is a time for all British Columbians to celebrate the creativity and vibrancy found in every community throughout our province.” 

The provincial launch is presented in cooperation with the Suk'wtemsqilx'w West Kelowna Arts Council (SWAC), an arts council uniting the two communities of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation through cultural partnerships and collaboration. SWAC is the first organization of its kind in British Columbia and was conceived as a result of the overwhelming enthusiasm surrounding the inaugural Westside Culture Days in 2014. Artists, businesses and community members came together to celebrate the arts and cultural life of both Westbank First Nation and West Kelowna communities, creating a unified sense of partnership and cultural identity. In 2015, Westside ranked #1 across Canada in their population category for the highest number of registered Culture Days activities. 

"This year, Westside Culture Days is coordinated by SWAC; it is, after all, where the arts council came from and why we are here. The Westside is huge, but encompasses two main communities: Westbank First Nation and West Kelowna and now, we are thrilled to welcome the City of Peachland as well," said Julia Trops, SWAC Chair.

Festivities at the official launch will begin with a stage program emceed by Westbank First Nation councillor, Chris Derrickson, and will include an Orange Shirt Day ceremony in honour of residential school survivors. The public is invited to view performances, take part in workshops and demos, and enjoy food from a variety of local vendors. The evening will feature a range of onstage entertainment, including a dance performance by Westbank First Nation's Candice Jack, storytelling presented by Westbank First Nation representative, Jordan Coble, and musical performances by Peachland Variety Singers, Rachel Layne, Marty Edwards, and Bjorn Kriel.

"Our artists are open-hearted and diverse and welcome all levels of ability and knowledge. Whether the public lives on the Westside or the outside, they have so many opportunities to engage with our artists and partners, from supplemental and secret techniques to learning how to do something themselves. Learning equals empowerment in our formula," said Trops.

Culture Days was conceived in response to the growing recognition that a vibrant arts and cultural sector contributes directly to a healthy and economically-diverse society. Individual artists, cultural groups, organizations, municipalities, and festivals offer free, participatory, and interactive arts and cultural activities during the Culture Days weekend each year. Culture Days represents the largest-ever collective public participation campaign undertaken by the arts and cultural community in Canada. 

Launch Event Details

When: Friday, September 30 from 4-7 p.m.
Location: Sensisyusten School, 1920 Quail Ln

Visit BC.CultureDays.ca to create your own customized itinerary for the weekend!

For more information, please contact Nazanin Shoja, BC Culture Days Manager at 604 681 3535 ext. 214 or nazanin.shoja@culturedays.ca.

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