The last weekend of September is chance to celebrate and embrace the arts in our community during Culture Days.
The Quesnel and District Community Arts Council (QDCAC) has been bringing arts and culture to Quesnel for 45 years, so it’s fitting that this community organization has many activities and events planned for Culture Days Sept. 27-29.
This year during Culture Days, the QDCAC is presenting the second annual Local Indigenous Artist Show.
This year’s show will be even bigger than last year’s show, as the arts council has partnered with the West Quesnel Business Association and the West Park Mall to present the show at the West Park Mall.
The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, and local Indigenous artists will be showing and selling a wide variety of artwork, including bead work, leather work, painting, writing, carving, woodwork and published books.
“This year, we have partnerships with the West Park Mall and the West Quesnel Business Association, and we’re having it at the mall for three days, so that is really amazing,” said Dina Unrau from the QDCAC.
Unrau says they had eight local artists show their work last year, and so far, eight artists have signed up for this year’s show.
Last year’s show featured work by artists who are Métis and Cree, as well as artists from Nazko and Kluskus.
“It’s not just Southern Carrier, it’s the whole Indigenous community of Quesnel,” said Unrau. “The artists will be there to talk to and will be selling their work. One of our artists last year sold her first painting. She was this far off the ground. And now she’s out in the community, selling her painting. It was great to be that platform for her.”
As part of Culture Days, the QDCAC is hosting a Great Sidewalk Chalk Challenge for area children and youth. Schools pick up chalk from the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre, and then students will create sidewalk chalk art at their schools on Friday, Sept. 27 and send in photos of their work. There will be a sidewalk chalk challenge Saturday, Sept. 28 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Arts and Recreation Centre for children and youth who don’t go to school.
Unrau says they’ve been doing this challenge for the last four or five years.
The Quesnel and District Community Arts Council will be celebrating its 45th anniversary during Culture Days and invites community members to join them for music and cupcakes Saturday, Sept. 28 from 2-4 p.m. at the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre.
The event is free and will feature live entertainment from the Aka Bellas. There will also be information about the QDCAC and the contributions it has made to the community in the last 45 years.
Theatre will also be part of the QDCAC’s Culture Days celebration, and the Canadiana Musical Theatre Co. will present “Emily Carr — Small Wonders” Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Chuck Mobley Theatre at Correlieu Secondary School. Admission is by donation.
“With lush orchestral arrangements and folk-style songs, this beautiful musical explores the artistic journey of a bright, curious, perceptive child,” states the show’s description. “‘Millie’ causes trouble in her Victorian family with her irrepressible passion for nature, animals and art.”
This year, Culture Days is celebrating its 10th year of showcasing all that arts and culture have to offer from coast to coast.
The theme for 2019 is Creativity, the Arts and Well-being. All year long, Culture Days is sharing research , ideas and stories showcasing the deep connection between arts and culture and quality of life.
Local Indigenous artist Roseanne Gagnon agrees art and well-being are very connected.
“I think my art is therapeutic,” she says. “My art helps me to keep focused and calms my spirit. Art relaxes my body and mind. When I finish a piece, an exhilarating feeling surrounds me and lifts my spirit.”
According to a press release from Culture Days, this year’s theme hails results from a general population survey commissioned by Culture Days in 2018 that revealed that 72 per cent of Canadians see arts and culture as a contributor to their mental well-being and 57 per cent to their physical health.
Canadians credit taking part in arts and culture with aiding relaxation (56 per cent), improving mood (52 per cent), reducing stress (52 per cent) and building connections with other people (44 per cent) and their community (38 per cent), according to Culture Days. Overall, 83 per cent of Canadians report that arts and culture improve the vitality and livability of our communities, and 80 per cent felt it brings us together.
Other events during Culture Days include free admission at the Quesnel and District Museum and Archives on Saturday, Sept. 28, and live music by Frank Diggins at the Quesnel Farmers’ Market on Saturday, Sept. 28.