Give the Gift of Music This Father’s Day

Give the Gift of Music This Father’s Day

Community Arts Council of Williams Lake and The Boys and Girls Club present the 3rd annual POPS in the Park, our Music for Youth Fundraiser on Sunday June 16th at 1 pm. Join us in Boitanio Park for an afternoon of fantastic performances by Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddlers, Lake City Secondary Band, Quintet Plus and Synergy Choirs, and the Cariboo Gold Dance Band! It’s all about supporting our community’s talented young musicians , so we’re also featuring the best of the Cariboo Festival Honours performers. So far we’ve offered subsidized lessons to 10 students per year, all thanks to your support!

The heART of the Matter - Contemplating 50 years in Service

The heART of the Matter - Contemplating 50 years in Service

Art saved my life. How about you?

Each artist’s journey is akin to their fingerprint. It’s why I adore interviewing them, searching the sands of their process for clues or pearls of insight that might decode the art they make. I do this, I chase the spark of inspiration in others towards its source, because I believe if I keep following it, the source’s warmth and passion will reveal its secrets to me. It is my own personal fairy tale, a heroine’s journey to soul and unveiling so that my own artistic endeavours deepen.

Children naturally gravitate to art and art making. Najma Holmes, 6, puts it simply: “I get happy when I make art.” Here, she is modelling at the Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux Arts) in Montreal, a visit she called an awesome experience.” Photo: Venta Rutkauskas

Children naturally gravitate to art and art making. Najma Holmes, 6, puts it simply: “I get happy when I make art.” Here, she is modelling at the Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux Arts) in Montreal, a visit she called an awesome experience.” Photo: Venta Rutkauskas

It’s easy to recall the year that my art saved me. It’s a year that defined me. I was 16, an awkward, impertinent theatre kid at Queen of Angels Academy in Montreal, treading water in a family struggling with addictions and religious beliefs that alienated me. I’d already battled with eating disorders and keeping friends, overwhelming my peers with the heaviness I carried in my heart. I’d not made any significant attachments to elders or mentors, leaving me to cope with my inner turmoil mostly alone. Finding theatre and literary arts at that time empowered me, strengthened my voice, and drew me out of sadness for the moments I was creative. It built a community of peers around me.

It’s not that I escaped family trauma unscathed; I remain to this day a healing work in progress. What happened that year is that I anchored my identity into the creative process. The artistic practices were imbued with tools that relieved stress, challenged my mind, and made me unique. From then on, choices made for my future incorporated the arts, philosophy, and humanities, fields of study that lead us to explore, inquire, and create beauty. Honouring my creativity in those pivotal years led me away from self-destruction by awakening a sense of purpose in my life.

We know that art is good for us. Still, there is a force in society that condemns art practices as frivolous, not worth pursuing unless you are a master and can make millions, perhaps a trivial hobby. This notion borders on the absurd for me, as most of my life has been spent working in the arts, surrounded by a profusion of artists and arts supporters who know what I know. Art changes lives, enhances communities, and brings people to new places, materially and spiritually.

Now, as a community arts organizer, I have a professional interest in arts advocacy. I’ve recently combed the office archives in anticipation of the 50th Anniversary of the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake (CACWL), who’s incorporation date sees it turn 50 on February 20, 2019. CACWL founders included playwright Gwen Ringwood, publisher Clive Stangoe, potter Anna Roberts, and Thespian Anne Hornby, passionate individuals who excelled personally in their arts, yet saw to it that the community would also benefit from creative practices. They envisioned a unified arts community with a dedicated arts centre and a society able to leverage funds to distribute to community groups, artists, and the public. It’s a legacy worth defending, especially because increasingly we see arts curriculum stripped from classrooms, while the busyness of modern life moves us away from ‘making’. Though we’re a small grassroots alliance, CACWL draws funds from BC Arts Council, Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, and others to put artists in the schools, facilitate Art in the Park, and assist in the Earth Friendly Holiday Event and Pops in the Park, to name a few initiatives.

Considering this 50th Anniversary and the work CACWL Board of Directors and I do to bring art into the community and classrooms in the Williams Lake area, I’ve decided to create something of a physical legacy to honour what CACWL founders built for us, and I hope you’ll help me do it.

Has art had an influence on your life? Does the creative process benefit you? Will you write me a postcard or letter about it, please? Snail mail is best, because I’d really like a paper trail to work with. If you’ll honour me with your story, I promise to turn it into something beautiful… A work of art in service to the creative source.

Please mail your letters to CACWL, 90 North 4th Avenue, Williams Lake, BC, V2G 2C6.

COMMUNITY ARTS COUNCIL OF WILLIAMS LAKE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF SERVICE!

COMMUNITY ARTS COUNCIL OF WILLIAMS LAKE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF SERVICE!

There’s a lot to celebrate and reflect on when you turn 50. We’ve been digging into our archives, looking back to define the foundation of where the Community Arts Council came from, so we can look forward and find new direction. Read on to discover more about our Arts and Culture Giveaways!

Mystery and Muse

Mystery and Muse

Miss White Spider Transports you to a Spellbinding reality this June, with her Shadow Theatre performance The Selkie Bride at Glendale Theatre and her exhibit Enchanted Forest showing at the Station House Gallery.

POPS in the Park 2018 (and why YOU need to be there)

POPS in the Park 2018 (and why YOU need to be there)

POPS in the Park will be hitting the stage in Boitanio Park again on Friday June 15th. Last year's 'Music for Youth' fundraiser was so successful, the volunteer team behind the scenes burst into production mode last month to make POPS 2.0 an event to remember.  

POPS poster image by Steve Harkies

POPS poster image by Steve Harkies

POPS in the Park raised over $5000 last year, through the generosity of business sponsors and the local audience who came out on the night of the performance.  These funds have directly benefited music students who might not otherwise be able to pursue their musical education.  The POPS team works directly with music students, 12 of whom received bursaries to continue their lessons. Our partnership with Boys and Girls Club has seen several students engaged with guitar lessons, while a group drumming workshop is coming up this summer. William Wallace, the dedicated architect of the POPS movement, adds, "We're pleased to say that POPS proved itself in its start-up year by keeping some of Williams Lake's most promising and hard working youth in music when a lack of money may have prevented it."

Hearing from the instructors involved in offering the music lessons, CACWL Secretary Sharon Hoffman noted that so many families underwent duress, with a record breaking, stressful wildfire season, then a closure at Tolko's Lakeview mill due to fire.  When times are tough, it's the extras like music lessons that are cut away from a family's budget. The wonderful news is that with our business sponsors' support, POPS 2018 is already poised to raise at least as much as last year.  We are counting on you, Williams Lake, to help us create an annual fund that sees talented young people pursue all the benefits that music education offers.  

The night will begin at 5 pm with the Williams Lake Rotary Club's delicious BBQ and Taylor Made Cakes providing goodies, with all the profits going toward the music fund.  The musical line-up is composed of some of our community's most dedicated musicians.  The Lake City Secondary School Concert Band opens the night followed by the dynamic quartet, Synergy.  Next up, the talented Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddle Society,  a group composed primarily of children and teens, take the stage with their unique brand of old-time, feel good tunes. We are delighted to present a group of award winning soloists from the Cariboo Festival, highlighting the empowering ways music changes lives by developing confidence, intelligence, all the good things! Following the soloists, we have the Quintet Plus choir, and finally, The Cariboo Gold Dance Band. These acts are smooth as silk, you won't want to miss it.

The suave sounds of Cariboo Gold Dance Band will close out the POPS evening on June 15th.

The suave sounds of Cariboo Gold Dance Band will close out the POPS evening on June 15th.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the business sponsors this year: Cool Clear Water, Evergreen Service Partners, FBB Chartered Professional Accountants, Heartland Toyota, Horizon Climate Controls, Kornak & Hamm Pharmacy, Vanderburgh & Company, Williams Lake & District Credit Union, Williams Lake Optometry, Zone 4 Hair-styling & Tanning and Johnston Meier Insurance.

All the musicians and volunteers do this for the love of music and the good cause! We are so grateful to them for their time and energy on this project. Another big thanks goes to artist Steve Harkies for his incredible poster and promotional imagery.  

Performers like Harry Jennings generously perform at POPS for free in order to 'pay it forward'.

Performers like Harry Jennings generously perform at POPS for free in order to 'pay it forward'.

There are so many ways a community shines. When we support those who grapple with hard times, encourage our local talent, and celebrate joyfully the power of music, Williams Lake's sheen gets a little more polish, don't you think?  See you at Boitanio Park's Gwen Pharis Ringwood Stage on Friday June 15th at 5 pm to get your BBQ on, settle under the blue bell skies and soak up the good times.

Have any questions?  Contact Venta at williamslakearts@gmail.com for more info on the night and ways you can support the cause.