WORDS: TAYLOR BASSO
If you're looking for an elevated experience for the 2018 Culture Days weekend, you might head to Canmore, nestled in the Bow Valley in the heart of Alberta's Rocky Mountains. Not only will you be surrounded by a bounty of nature (the iconic Three Sisters mountains keep vigilant watch; the Banff National Park is only 20 minutes away), you'll also get to take in the Canmore Festival of Art and Creativity, running September 28-30.
The festival is produced by artsPlace, Canmore's community arts centre. Open since 2015, artsPlace is a dedicated space where Bow Valley residents and visitors can experience the adventure of art and creativity through classes, workshops, camps, performances, films, and exhibits. If that kind of variety appeals to you, then you'll have a lot to look forward to at the Canmore Festival of Art and Creativity, which has a little something for everyone.
Want to plug into a new creative outlet, from pottery to origami to printmaking? Join a workshop or drop-in activity led by a skilled artist. Hunting for a new piece of art for around the house? Browse works by local artisans. Looking for some family-friendly entertainment? Live performances, films and demonstrations are all on offer. If all this choice has left you dizzy, artsPlace Communications Manager, Paula Krupa, has a recommendation: join the crowd-pleasing Community Campfire, which takes place on the opening evening, September 28. "We invite everyone to cozy up to the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy live music, storytelling, and interactive performances," says Paula. "This year, we’ll be joined by folk/rock musician Seth Anderson, local singer-songwriter Mike Petroff and Indigenous dancers and drummers!"
The fire is in many ways symbolic of the larger festival, which provides a warm, communal, accessible gathering space for artists and soon-to-be artists alike. "[The festival] allows community members the opportunity to come together and practice art in a variety of forms, and at different skill levels, proving that everyone can be creative if they try, even if for the very first time," says Paula. "Additionally, they are able to do so at no cost, which removes any barriers to accessing the arts in the community."
It all comes back to artsPlace's dedication to bringing the Bow Valley community together: through partnerships with local arts and sports organizations, relationship building and reconciliation with local First Nations, and emphasizing inclusivity with diverse cultural groups, all of whom will be sharing in the fun at the Canmore Festival of Art and Creativity.
After all, notes Paula, there are myriad reasons to unite and celebrate arts and culture: "The arts build stronger communities and contribute to an improved quality of life. Engagement in the arts helps to grow a shared identity and pride, engages new members of the community, and stimulates and sustains local economic growth. [And] arts education helps children develop higher level skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, a stronger overall academic performance, and increased self-confidence."
So come out and join the Canmore Festival of Art and Creativity, if you want to meet local artists, learn a creative skill with your friends and family, or just have a blast enjoying a mug of cocoa and a conversation with a brand new friend.
For an overview of festival programming, click here. A full schedule will be posted in early September.
Photos courtesy of artsPlace Canmore
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