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Community Spotlight: Morden, MB

Culture Days

Jan 30, 2024

Meet our Organizers Series
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As a continuation of the Meet our Organizers series, the Community Spotlights tell the stories of unique communities from across Canada and how they have adopted Culture Days as their own. This Blog series unpacks the different ways in which these event organizers bring their communities together through arts, culture, and heritage experiences.

We recently connected with Lili Krushel, Facility Events Coordinator for the City of Morden, Manitoba and Liza Isakov, Executive Director at the Pembina Hills Arts Council (PHAC) to learn more about the 2023 Morden Culture Days Hub—a stellar collaboration between the city and the Arts Council—and to find out what the “secret sauce” is to fostering meaningful community partnerships.

What excites you most about the arts and culture community in Morden?

Liza: The arts and culture community in Morden is incredibly vibrant and diverse. There is a strong sense of community and collaboration among artists, cultural organizations, and residents. It is exciting to see the constant creativity and passion that drives the arts and culture scene in Morden.

Learning calligraphy with CK Jam Ng. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.
Learning calligraphy with CK Jam Ng. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.

How has the city adopted Culture Days and how has it evolved throughout the years?

Lili: In 2017, PHAC hosted the first Morden Culture Days, a community event on Stephen Street. In 2022, the City of Morden together with PHAC and three additional partnering organizations brought Culture Days back. In 2023, we were able to grow the event further, including more than 16 partnering organizations in the festivities! It has been truly rewarding to see that our community is interested in celebrating arts and culture and willing to contribute and share.

Liza: Supporting events like Culture Days is important for the city because it helps to foster a sense of community pride and engagement. These events showcase the talents and creativity of local artists and cultural organizations, and provide opportunities for residents to participate in and appreciate various forms of art and culture. By supporting Culture Days, the city shows its commitment to promoting a vibrant and inclusive community that values and celebrates its cultural heritage.

This year’s Morden Culture Days Hub was a collaborative effort between the city and Pembina Hills Arts Council. What is the “secret sauce” to fostering meaningful community partnerships, and how do you see the benefits unfold?

Lili: It is always a joy to work with Liza and PHAC. Working together gives us the opportunity to hold larger events than either group can do on our own. The City of Morden and the Arts Council bring different skill sets and resources, and that makes hosting events that much easier. If I was going to share the “secret sauce” it would be communication. From the birth of the event, we meet and brainstorm and shape the event together.

Soulful Studio Chair Yoga Workshop with Ashima Jain. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.
Soulful Studio Chair Yoga Workshop with Ashima Jain. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.

PHAC acted as a main coordinating force for Culture Days in Morden this year, working with various partners. Can you share a few Culture Days 2023 highlights from working with partners such as the Many Hands Resource Centre and local businesses like Whitecap Coffee?

Liza: One of the biggest highlights of working on our Culture Days events has been the absolute pleasure of getting to know the faces behind each and every partnership, especially seeing their passion for community building. Creating accessible options for so many people has inspired me to always seek new opportunities and collaborations.

Family fun at the Dutch Blitz tournament. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.
Family fun at the Dutch Blitz tournament. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.

Many Hands Resource Centre helped to organize a Dutch Blitz Game Night, which was so popular! This was our first time working with Whitecap Coffee, as they just opened their second location here in Morden, and it honestly has been delightful to have a neighbourhood-friendly café. Their event was also quite popular, and I know many walked out with a much greater appreciation and love for coffee making.

Did you receive any feedback from attendees that surprised or delighted you most?

Lili: I really loved that families used this opportunity to try new art forms or spend family time together. That is just so precious!

What advice would you share with first-time Culture Days organizers?

Liza: I think it’s important to remember how unique each and every experience is. Ask yourself: how does this help our sense of community to grow? Think about what makes you, your organization, and your community special. What would you like your community to know you by? How do you connect what you do to a broader audience?

Bruce The Mosasaur wearing a Culture Days scarf outside the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.
Bruce The Mosasaur wearing a Culture Days scarf outside the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. Photo courtesy of the City of Morden.

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