This weekend, many communities all over Canada participated in what’s known as Culture Days.
Culture Days was created to celebrate the arts and creativity in British Columbia and all provinces in Canada. Many venues throughout Kamloops opened their doors and hosted free events throughout the weekend. This lets attendees enjoy new cultures they might not have been able to experience before.
Culture Days is about connecting individuals in their communities and creating a deeper appreciation for arts and culture in the town or city they live in. Each province has its own cultural events manager who oversees the events and helps link the weekend all over Canada which can all be found on their website.
Events that took place in Kamloops included ‘Cultural Crawl’s’ at the Kamloops Museum, the Old Courthouse Building, and other locations, as well as an ‘Art is for Everybody’ workshop at the Kamloops Art Gallery and a backstage tour of The Drowning Girls at the Pavillion Theatre.
Archie Mitra, a children’s programmer and art instructor at the Kamloops Art Gallery thought Culture Days was important “because Canada, as we stand right now, is an immense melting pot of all cultures. We have people coming from all over the world, especially in BC, in Kamloops, because it’s a university town, and we have all these different cultures coming together. I think it’s important to talk about them, [and] to let people understand each other so that we can in turn respect other people from other cultures because there are huge differences in different parts of the world.”
Mitra says he has come from a different culture himself so he understands how uneasy it can feel learning another culture. In one part of the world, some things are okay, whereas in another it might not be.
“I think it is on the people to understand these differences and be more compassionate about it,” Mitra said.
The Art is for Everybody workshop was an event for all ages, where people could make their own buttons, books, as well as contribute to their collaborative chalkboard wall. They also had a collaborative exhibition, showing art from students who attended the KAG art camp.
Another event was a backstage tour of The Drowning Girls set at the Pavillion Theatre. Catrina Crowe, Director of Marketing and Communications, oversaw the tour and led attendants around the space to show them how the behind-the-scenes elements worked, including the lighting features, and the physical showerheads that spray water onto the actors. Crowe mentioned that these elements are what makes audiences curious.
“We see the magic that occurs on stage and get taken into those worlds. The question is: how did that happen? Especially in a show like this where there’s water involved, and this is a different element than the norm. People just appreciate the side that they don’t usually get to see.”
When asked about the importance of Culture Days, Crowe said, “I think many people are just not aware of how much culture in the arts affects their lives, so when all the organizations line up at the same time to say ‘this is us’, they realize it’s not another as much as everything else they do.”
Culture Days has many sponsors including the Canadian Federal Government, the Canada Council for the Arts, Pattison Group, Cineplex, CBC, and BT/A. Each province has different sponsors as well, and those for BC include BCAA, the Government of BC, and the BC Arts Council, among many others. You can find full details about the history behind Culture Days and their full list of sponsors on culturedays.ca.