What you didn’t know about the KAC

Who is the Kamloops Arts Council and how did they come to be?

For those that don’t know the Kamloops Art Council, otherwise known as KAC, is the largest promoter of Arts in Kamloops.

Terri Hadwin, Executive Director of the KAC, says “Our vision is connecting creative communities. Basically our mandate is to support emerging and established artists within Kamloops and the surrounding areas.”

The KAC does about a million things for the community according to Hadwin. “One of the things we’re probably best known for, but is not one of the biggest things we do, is the events that we host throughout the year.” Hadwin specifically mentions Art in the Park in Riverside Park on Canada day.

The KAC offers exhibits all year round and also has a program called ‘Art in Public Spaces,’ where local art rotates through places like the library, airport, hospital, and other businesses in the city. The KAC also has an Outreach Program.

“We hire artists to go and work with [people in high-risk situations] so they can heal through art. It’s such a valuable thing that’s apart of our community that not a lot of people know about,” Hadwin said.

Regarding funding, Hadwin says “One of our biggest champions is the City of Kamloops. They give us $40,000 at the beginning of every year for basic operations and to support the children’s art festival and art in the park.” The BC Arts Council and the Province of BC are also huge supporters of the KAC, and with this initial $40,000, they grow it to $400,000.

What you may not know is how they support TRU students in Kamloops. The Rivertown Players is a children’s summer theatre troupe hired by the KAC and made up of young emerging actors. This troupe is commonly made up of theatre students from TRU.

“They get the opportunity to write, and direct, and they create their props, they create their costumes, and then they go all over Kamloops and perform for children for free,” Hadwin said.

TRU students are more than welcome to join in on the fun by volunteering at events with the council and supporting their endeavours.

“There are at times employment opportunities with us, or opportunities to network with other artists, [and] there’s opportunities to showcase your artwork.” TRU students can also become members of the Arts Council for $10 a year to support their initiatives.

“It shows that you value us as much as we value you,” Hadwin said.

So what’s coming up for the KAC? The 20th Annual Children’s Arts Festival is taking place on Friday and Saturday, September 13-14. This event is completely free, and they are offering transit to Riverside Park for free; families just need to go online to kamloopsarts.ca to download the free bus pass. This year’s theme is ‘Wizards and Wonder’ so make sure you come in your best costume!

“It is accessible to absolutely everybody which is wonderful. [The bus pass] is through sponsorship from the city so we are very thankful for that, as well as [for] various other funders,” says Hadwin

On Friday, children will have the opportunity to come to the “Kids FunShop After School Party”. This after school event is geared for children ages 6-12. On Saturday, children have from 10-4 to engage in all the free art activities and performances at Riverside Park.

“It’s a pretty awesome way that we get to expose various disciplines of art to children at a very young age. They get to see what it’s like to see a live performer or do some painting,” among showing them other art forms like stop motion animation.

Hadwin would also like to acknowledge the KAC Board of Directors, Staff, and Volunteers.

“Without them, it wouldn’t run. These people are either not at all paid or underpaid but they are definitely not undervalued.”

The KAC office and KAC Gallery Cooperative, a gift shop that hosts local artwork, is located in downtown Kamloops in the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre at 7 Seymour Street West. You can contact them at 250-372-7323 or email them at info@kamloopsarts.ca for more information. Tune into their website at kamloopsarts.ca to check out what’s next to come.