A grassroots celebration of B.C.’s cultural scene will make its mark in Port Renfrew this month.
B.C. Culture Days runs Sept. 28 to 30 and the festival showcases the many forms of arts and culture celebrated in the community with a variety of events and activities.
Nazanin Shoja, the B.C. Culture Days manager, is thrilled the community has joined into what has become a national celebration.
“The concept actually started in 2009 when the Canadian Arts Summit in Banff proposed an event to get communities more engaged in the arts. It was all inspired by the success of Quebec’s Journées de la culture weekend but Culture Days are now a little bit different in every community,” she said.
Port Renfrew is joining with more than 60 communities in B.C. that annually join into a free, country-wide celebration of art, culture, and community.
Each of the participating municipalities in Culture Days organizes their own events and presentations are designed to best reflect their own communities. In Port Renfrew, the celebrations will be chalked full of attractions for all ages.
The inaugural event in Port Renfrew is in the hands of Diane Moran, the community’s Culture Days ambassador and local Culture Days organizer.
“My first experience with Culture Days was back in 2011 when I had a solo show at the Burnaby Arts Council,” Moran said.
Moran said that since moving to Port Renfrew this spring she was intent on bringing Culture Days here.
“I reached out to artists here, like Hugh Smith of Mexican Bus Ride and he’s been hugely helpful in helping me make the contacts and pull the event together,” Moran said.
“Port Renfrew has a very strong arts and culture community, and this is a great opportunity to showcase our talent to the entire region.”
The theme of this year’s Port Renfrew’s Culture Days is Time Travel to Port Renfrew and one of the main attractions will be a photo exhibition of the working history of Port Renfrew. It’s a combination of a slide show, framed historical photos and live musical performances by two local bands, Mexican Bus Ride on Sept. 28 and The Edgedwellers on Sept. 30.
Another activity will be a participatory event hosted by Moran, who is a visual artist. Entitled Drift Wood and Drum, the presentation will take place at the Port Renfrew Community Centre where she will offer a hands-on art opportunity for participants to use recycled and natural materials to create their own artistic creations.
In yet another offering, the Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners have invited residents to join them on Sept. 30 to take part in an interpretive walk through T’l’oqwxwat / Avatar Grove to learn about the ecology and status of B.C.’s old-growth forests and the AFA’s campaign to protect them.
“This is an opportunity for the community to celebrate culture and culture isn’t necessarily about music or visual art. It’s about the vastness and depth of what’s going on in the community,” Moran said.
“Culture Days are about drawing attention to what is important to the community. It can include a glimpse behind the scenes at a museum, a discovery of food in the community, or a walk through the natural beauty of Avatar Grove. There’s no one definition of culture for any given community.”
Most of the events on the Culture Days weekend will take place at the Port Renfrew Community Centre, but the community is urged to check out the full schedule and list of events at culturedays.ca.