The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report mid December 2015. With my duties and involvement as Chair of the Sukwtemsqilxw West Kelowna Arts Council (http://www.swac-arts.com) I made it a personal goal to read the report and to record my responses.
It’s not an easy report to read.
The content is disturbing, but it is important to bear witness to those who have lived and died as a result of Canada’s First Nation policies. That is all I will say, except that those who participated in the Commission’s research and final report, you have great strength, humility and grace.
As of this writing, I am approaching the “Calls to Action” and am eagerly anticipating and already considering ways that my community can aid in the healing of the relationships between First Nation and non First Nation peoples.
Gallery 97 is run this year by six partners, Jaine and George Buse, Pat Huber, Wayne Power, Sharon Fitch and myself. Our goal is to support and promote Okanagan artists.
This year, we have works from 40 artists Vernon to Penticton, and we hope to have works even broader yet, if we are able to run the gallery once again next year. So keep April 2016 on your calendar for the Call to Artists, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be notified of the call, or come down and talk with one of us in person until October 12.
There is a lovely book called An Okanagan Tapestry comprised of short stories published by the Penticton Writer’s Guild, and I am lucky to have a story in it. This story is based on, influenced by, suggested by two of my paintings. It is called “Riding the Wild Unicorn”. Copies may be obtained from me and they are $15 not including shipping.
The Arts Council has been busy. As Chair, I can truly say that our team is stupendous. What we have accomplished in the last eight months has been the result of the passion of our directors and the people on the westside and greater Okanagan. If you are interested in getting involved with this effective and active group, contact us at swacarts at gmail dot com.
We have done the Westside Culture Days that includes an Arts and Culture All Candidates Forum, which I am told is one of the first of its kind in the area. Seating is fairly limited so we have created an Eventbrite listing to ensure those who want to reserve a seat, can. This event is free, there is no cost to tickets.
The YLW Skyway/SWAC Okanagan Art initiative which is open to all artists in the YLW catchment area. This initiative will have original Okanagan artwork available for sale in the departure lounge after security. SWAC is acting as the known shipper and all artwork will be juried. All artists from Merritt to the Kootenays, from Revelstoke to Kamloops all the way down to Osoyoos are welcome to submit work for sale at the airport.
If you would like to keep up to date with the arts council activities, we send one email a month, maximum two for special occasions. You can unsubscribe at any time. Send a quick note to swacarts at gmail dot com, or join the arts council and you will be updated automatically. Our webpage is http://www.swac-arts.com
In April, I started writing newspaper articles for the Westside Weekly once again, focused on the arts council and activities, events and partnerships between westside artists, community groups and businesses.
These seem to be received in a positive light. There is so much to write about, it’s hard to choose the subjects for each week. I’m working on keeping up to listing images of the articles on line, and if you would like a closer read of any of them, please send me a note. There is a gallery of newspaper article images below.
A big heartfelt thank you to Doyle Pontenteau, my editor (it’s so cool to say that!) for his guidance and insight into the newspaper and editorial industry.
There’s a point where you just have to say fuck it and start working.
I’ve had some beautiful beautiful stones for sculpture work since 2010, and I’ve sat and looked at them, talked to them, stroked them, and just generally got to know them. Last fall, I gave them a warning that I’d been approaching them in the spring to start work.
True to my promise, I grabbed my angle grinder and got to work. The thing with stone is that once you start carving, you’re not able to go back. Well you CAN go back with the addition of say a clay piece, or a bronze piece but at this point, I’m a bit of a purist in that I want everything clean and upfront and transparent. Do or die. Not die specifically, but you know what I mean.
Here is one beforehand. It is alabaster and one I felt very close to over the years. We watched tv together, we talked during the commercials. We hung out.
With the subtractive process, that’s all you got. With clay or plasticine or wax it can be additive or subtractive – took too much off, just add it back in again: not with stone. So I take my sweet time with the sculpture, from conception to finishing.
After some working:
This sculpture is still underway. How long do one of these works take me? From receipt of stone, to conception of what will be done to actual work, could be years. This sculpture is five years in the making and looks like we’ll be done this spring. I’ll miss her when she’s done, but that’s always how it is. I know our friendship will never end.
Thank you very much to the Greater Westside Board of Trade, the Cove Lakeside Resort, the Westbank Museum and last but certainly not least, Sncewips Heritage Museum for facilitating the arts council launch. A picture of the arts council team featuring from L to R (back to front):
artist Ralph Carlson, film maker Jason Woodford, artist Matthew Brown, business owner Melissa Brown, artist Julia Trops, WFN Heritage Officer Tracy Satin, business student Kimberleigh Trops, artist Rebekah Wilkinson, artist Pat Huber, and artist Pat Raphael. Missing from photo: business graduate Brenna Mackaay and artist Arlene Currie.
For the last four months since Westside Culture Days, this has been the focus of much of my time. I am proud to be part of an outstanding, motivated and active team who cares about our community and wants to make a positive impact here on the westside. I hope you join us and be part of this ground breaking organization that joins aboriginal and non aboriginal, business, artists and governments working together side by side. Come to our public launch, a luncheon during Heritage Week at the Cove Lakeside Resort, sponsored by the Greater Westside Board of Trade. More info follows below.
Suk’ʷtəmsqilxʷ (sook tem skayl hoo) West Kelowna Arts Council (SWAC) came into being after the inaugural Westside Culture Days 2014 weekend. In October 2014, after recognizing the enthusiasm of the attendees from both the businesses and the artists, a call went out to all Culture Days participants to see if forming an arts council on the west side of the bridge was relevant and timely. The response was highly favourable. This new arts council hopes to bring awareness to our diverse and rich cultural resources by working with interested and invested businesses.
The arts council connects two distinct governments through culture. The Okanagan word “Suk’ʷtəmsqilxʷ” means “half indigenous, half non-indigenous” and represents the connection between two worlds. Suk’ʷtəmsqilxʷ celebrates and demonstrates the council’s unique positioning. By utilizing a First Nation word in the name, the arts council recognizes West Kelowna is part of the traditional, unceded lands of the Syilx people.
The incorporation team solidified over the next two months. The inaugural board consists of westside businesses and artists: artist Julia Trops, WFN Heritage Officer Tracy Satin, artist Rebekah Wilkinson, business graduate Brenna Mackaay and business student Kimberleigh Trops, artist Matthew Brown, film maker Jason Woodford, Westbank Blenz owner Melissa Brown, artist Pat Raphael, artist Ralph Carlson, Dogwood Nursery representative Arlene Currie, and artist Pat Huber.
In December, the incorporation documents were filed with the BC Government and the public launch is scheduled for the Greater Westside Board of Trade’s luncheon on February 18 at the Cove during the Canada’s Heritage Week. During that luncheon, attendees will be treated to the first members of the arts council and learn how they can be part of the action. Tickets are $20 for this event and may be purchased from Karen Beaubier, 250.768.3378 or email@example.com.
SWAC’s vision is one of cooperation, inclusion aimed at enriching our community by developing a vibrant cultural landscape. Our Constitution emphasizes the focus on community and partnership of artists, businesses and community members in events, cultural programs and education.
To date, many local artists and cultural creators have looked outside of our two westside communities to take advantage of needed cultural services such as exhibition and programming opportunities. This has created a void on the westside and the local population has no comprehensive identity or little cohesive structure for cultural activities. Our citizens have acknowledged this as a concern that needs to be addressed. By creating and fostering cultural activities, SWAC hopes to help to enrich the community and provide an avenue for cultural tourism.
This is an anonymous public participation project.
I am calling this project Living in the Dash. This project for an exhibition, is ultimately about sharing, growth, compassion and understanding. This is a project that surrounds people and their lives, people sharing their story.
They can talk about it, they can write it. They can tell their story as they lived it, or as they wish to have lived it. It can be as long or short as they wish. It can be a person’s entire life, or it can be what happened yesterday. Any names will be changed to protect privacy.
This is about trust and integrity and I can promise to protect yours with mine.
To participate you can:
Send me a letter with your story. No return address as I will not be responding to Venus is Rising Box 32093 2151 Louie Drive Westbank BC V4T 3G2
Come to my gallery during Westside Culture Days and record your audio there in a private space.
Record an audio at home and during Westside Culture Days, drop that audio disk in my drop box at Julia Trops Gallery Westbank Shopping Centre. Outside of Westside Culture Days you can drop it at Westbank Blenz or send to the post box address above.
Send me one of your diaries, letters you’ve never sent, or anything you want.
You can include photographs or other visuals if you wish.
There is no sensorship. If you sent it, it means it is important to you and will be honoured.
It is entirely up to you.
The result of this process I hope will be a healing one, for you, for me and ultimately for our community and our lives. I hope you participate.
I hope the community comes out for that weekend. There is a People’s Choice as well quite generously sponsored by Blenz and Opus, $200 cash and a $50 Blenz card, and a $100 gift card from Opus Arts and Framing.