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Three Weeks in Autumn's Embrace

Mallory Gemmel & Rawle Iam James

Sep 15, 2023

From the Culture Days Network

Ten years ago, BC Culture Days’ program for artist ambassadors hatched. In its inaugural year, the title of “BC Culture Days Champion” was bestowed upon BC artist Denise Corcoran, for her outstanding contributions to her local arts community. Through nourishment and fruitful growth, the small program has matured and evolved into what it is today—the BC Culture Days Ambassador Program. Over 65 artists, from northern, southern, western, and eastern regions of the province, have acted as emerging artist ambassadors for Culture Days. They’ve brought their communities together to facilitate countless, memorable events that engaged community members in diverse modes of expression, culture, and creative language: from poetry cafes to collaborative murals to medicine pouch, beading, and weaving workshops. Not forgetting the pop culture cabarets, comic projects, Indigenous storytelling events, film and cultural festivals, ecoprinting workshops, art exhibitions, documentaries, and so on. There are more dynamic ambassador projects yet to come, which will be presented this year between September 22nd - October 15th.

For many of our past ambassadors, a project that started as a seed has now flourished into a crop of connections and opportunities. Some have taken on roles at key organizations in their communities and others have gone on to manage community-based programs of their own. Many ambassadors have continued to develop their craft, building beautiful portfolios and prospering through their creative passions and gifts.

Rawle Iam James is a poet, author, inspirational speaker, community builder, and BC Culture Days’ second ambassador. Since he was named an ambassador in 2014, his connection to Culture Days has remained hearty. The open mic vehicle he founded called the Inspired Word Cafe hosted many events as a strong proponent in Kelowna’s annual Culture Days festivities. Today, it is a not-for-profit society that continues to serve Kelowna and the surrounding area prompting all forms of literary creative. Rawle acted as Culture Days Coordinator for the City of Kelowna in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and has participated on the BC Culture Days Steering Committee, connecting local artists with the Culture Days network. Today, Rawle hosts two online shows called the Inspired Poetry Corner (a monthly recital) and Home is the Heart Open Mic show. In early 2023, Rawle was appointed as an ambassador with the International Academy of Ethics where he continues to use his poetry to uplift our human consciousness.

After seeing the release of the 2023 ambassador cohort, Rawle reached out to BC Culture Days, expressing gratitude and excitement about how the program has evolved. As a reflection on his time as an ambassador and Culture Days’ continual impacts on communities nationwide, Rawle offered us the poem, “Three Weeks in Autumn’s Embrace”.

Three Weeks in Autumn’s Embrace

Beneath the gracious Western sky,
I am a feather on memory’s sweet breeze.
Joy surges as I reminisce in a dance
to the moment when I was chosen.
I awake from a dream with a shake of my head,
as the country burst into vibrant colours.
From the sun-kissed coast to the Rocky Peaks,
the Northern glaciers and the ancestral lands,
we are tied and stand united,
embedded in life’s mosaic.

A tapestry of celebration.
We are the cherished home, a beacon shining bright
the light of our connected hearts illuminating
imagination’s flair.
Three weeks in autumn’s embrace
to showcase imagination in vivid hues.
Visitors depart with memories in tow, glowing
before the inevitable winter.
Their spirits replenished
by the warmth of a supernatural cloak.

Locals rejoice and play with falling leaves
harvesting the summer’s joy.
Artistic blossoms transform communities
into festive streets adorned with art and poetry.
Three weeks in autumn’s embrace
our culture rainbow spotlight, music swoons,
romancing hearts and minds uplifting the village
beneath a painted sky.
With each sunrise, we taste her precious charms
that fade into the sunset of our hopes.
BC Culture Days is a treasure of creative dreams,
forever ours, three weeks in autumn’s embrace.

BC Culture Days is excited to reconvene next week for another annual celebration of arts, culture, and creativity—for three weeks in autumn’s embrace. Learn more about this year’s A/I/R Ambassador Series, our current ambassadors, and their upcoming activities. The 2023 A/I/R Ambassador Series encompasses a collection of artist-led events across British Columbia. Guided by the theme of AIR (access, inclusion, and resilience), each event in the series is created under the creed that creativity, artistic exploration, and collaborative artmaking are for everyone. Celebrate accessibility and community care with local free arts and culture events in your area!