2020 BC Culture Days Ambassadors
Coral Santana (Vancouver) — Afro-Latina writer, producer, and activist.
Culture Days Event: Coral presented a virtual festival called Artivism: Sex and the Unheard, exploring themes around sex, sexuality and body ownership within marginalized communities. Activities included panel discussions, aphrodisiac cooking workshops, spoken word performances, burlesque, and Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture’s 10 x 5 Artist Talks.
Mentor: Writer, activist, Carmen Rodriguez.
Impact statement: I am incredibly grateful to the team at BC Culture Days and their Artist Ambassador program. Thanks to being a 2020 Artist Ambassador, I have been able to connect and collaborate with organizations all across the province. I worked with the Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre and the Vancouver Public Library in a series of conversations discussing racism within the Latinx community. I curated a small international film festival called UBC GlobalEYES in which we explored the role of women in films from different societies. I currently host a podcast called Diversity Reads, where I am joined by diverse guests and we discuss books written by authors of underrepresented communities. I am also working on two different writing projects that I hope to release someday. Being a BC Culture Days Artist Ambassador opened my doors to resources and connections that may have been inaccessible otherwise, and for that, I will be forever thankful.
INSTAGRAM: @arrecifede.coral // @dive.into.ubc
Damian John (Ymir) — Tl’azt’en acrylic/graphic painter and poet.
Culture Days Event: Damian presented Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity, a live- streamed discussion on the history of Indigenous Peoples in BC, followed by a creative drawing workshop exploring themes of reconciliation and personal journeys.
Mentor: Indigenous Visual Artist, Sonny Assu.
Impact statement: Participating in BC Culture Days was very impactful. Sonny Assu mentored me and my work with him sent my artwork in a whole new direction. It has helped me find voice for some of the things I wish to say about my Indigenous experience in Canada. It has grounded my artwork in the sense of creating a body of work with more cohesion, so that when it’s shown to the public it has a sense of unity. Having a well-established artist as my mentor was so useful. Since the Culture Days experience, I have had 3 successful art shows, two in the Kootenays and one in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island. I have connected with another of the cultural ambassadors, Ed Fu-Chen Juan, and we have successfully collaborated on a paper making and ink making project and have big plans for some future collaboration. He is also an amazing cook, so we made delicious food and beautiful art together. I have also finished 2 public murals and have been hired for a big public art project with the Indigenous housing project in Prince George. Since my Culture Days experience, I have had nothing but good things art wise. I am so grateful to have had the experience.
Molly Beatrice (Vancouver) — Experimental theatre artist.
Culture Days Event: Molly directed and produced Letters to Myself, a pre-recorded theatre performance by three Queer actors writing letters as adults to themselves as a youth.
Mentor: Theatre director, Anita Rochon.
Impact statement: I will always remember my experience with Culture Days and mentorship with Anita Rochon as the beginning of a sense of belonging in Vancouver, and foundational in building my belief in my capacity as a director. Since my experience as an Ambassador, I have participated in PTC’s Block A program under the guidance of Fay Nass, Directors’ Lab North, and Place des Arts’ Summer Theatre Troupe as their emerging director with the mentorship of Ami Gladstone. Additionally, I have continued to workshop Prey, an independently produced devised movement piece premiering in 2022. My experience with Culture Days and mentorship has created a lasting sense of community for me and I am deeply grateful for Anita and the Culture Days team.
Edward Fu-Chen Juan (Vancouver) — Printmaking artist.
Culture Days Event: Edward presented a number of activities including: Plant Ink Extraction Outdoor Demo (Vancouver), Foraged Ink for Printmaking (Sechelt), Artist Panel and Ink Extraction Demo (Powell River), and Gallery Opening at Tidal Art Centre in Lund.
Mentor: Printmaker, Brigitte Potter-Mael.
Impact statement: I want to thank BC Culture Days for introducing me to the artist community. Specifically, Damian John, who has reached out to me to collaborate on an art concept. In summer 2021, we were able to work together in an artist residency with grant support from the Nelson and Districts Arts Council. As of today, we are continuing our collaboration and research from two opposite ends of the province.
Claudia Simon (Revelstoke) — French-Canadian artist and graphic designer known as Bambi.
Culture Days Event: Bambi facilitated Behind the wall: The making of a collective mural, the process of which was recorded and presented online.
Mentor: Cartoonist, photographer, and former BC Culture Days Ambassador Rob Buchanan.
Impact statement: As an ambassador for BC Culture Days 2020, I had the pleasure to get personal with my community and host an art workshop for teens and adults in the fall of 2020. For this project, I invited Revelstoke locals to create a collective mural while I shared some knowledge on typography, composition, and infused a little bit of my French-Canadian background. For the planning of this workshop, I had the chance to have mentor Rob Buchanan—a pillar of Revelstoke’s art community, to guide me through the process. Working closely with an established artist like Rob opened my eyes to avenues I would’ve never thought were possible. This mentorship experience facilitated other projects where Rob was able to guide me in the right direction and led me to create my first permanent piece of public art displayed in the heart of my community. Additionally, neighbouring art organizations and school districts took notice of my workshop and offered me the chance to create multiple in-person and pre-recorded workshops for francophone and anglophone communities throughout BC in 2021. This growth wouldn’t have been possible without the continued support from BC Culture Days’ team. I strongly encourage my peers to seize this unique opportunity.