Vernon’s Amanda Shatzko gives an aerial art painting demonstration recently in Vancouver. This year’s ambassador for B.C. Culture Days

Vernon’s Amanda Shatzko gives an aerial art painting demonstration recently in Vancouver. This year’s ambassador for B.C. Culture Days

Vernon flies high for Culture Days

Arts community comes together to host free activities and events for B.C. Culture Days, Sept. 25 to 27

Greater Vernon is about to make a big splash when it joins communities around the province to celebrate B.C. Culture Days.

From local aerial artist Amanda Shatzko painting high atop the stage at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, to a printmaking class at the Vernon Public Art Gallery, to a coffee house at the Vernon Community Arts Centre, there are a ton of free activities and events going on throughout the three-day celebration next weekend.

As the ambassador for B.C. Culture Days, Shatzko, who is also vice-president of the Arts Council of the North Okanagan (ACNO), says she has travelled around the province, speaking about the variety of culture that communities share with one another.

“In the end, we learn that we can link common threads. That’s what Culture Days is all about: a free chance to expand your mind and experience new activities alongside your neighbour,” she said.

With her successful career as a visual and performing artist, Shatzko has also served as a representative of culture for her hometown.

“The Okanagan has such a vibrant culture – it is how we identify ourselves,” she said. “We (Vernon) are known for our athletic achievements, talented visual and performing art, and breath-taking landscape. It isn’t a surprise to me that I ended up creating an innovative career melding all of those aspects together because that is what I was exposed to and encouraged to do on a daily basis growing up in Vernon.”

Shatzko will demonstrate her live acrobatic performance Saturday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. on the main stage at the Performing Arts Centre, where she will hang by a wire as she paints a canvas, demonstrating agility and flexibility.

“It won’t just be a regular show. I will break down the process and share behind-the-scenes aspects, talk about finding passion, innovation and inspiration connected to Vernon, and even pick an audience member to come on stage and try flying in my harness,” she said.

Vernon has more than 20 other events and activities during Culture Days, and they’re all free.

The ACNO, which operates the Vernon Community Arts Centre, kicks off Culture Days with a reception at the arts centre, located at the east entrance to Polson Park (behind the Okanagan Science Centre), Friday at 5 p.m.

An artist talk with the centre’s clay artist-in-residence Gabrielle Strong starts at 5:30 p.m.

“I hope that everyone comes out to participate and celebrate the arts and culture sector that is uniquely and distinctively Vernon,” said Lynne Gayan, VCAC executive director.

Over at the Performing Arts Centre in the Vernon Recreation Complex is the second annual Booksmack!, Friday at 7 p.m.

“The event features poet/novelist Laisha Rosnau, storyteller Gabe Newman, Coldstream mayor and teacher Jim Garlick, W.L. Seaton Secondary English teacher Glenda Dolcetti, poet/author Harold Rhenisch and librarian Kristy Hennings giving speed reviews of some of their favourite books, films and music,” said Performing Arts Centre artistic director Erin Kennedy.

W.L. Seaton drama teacher Lana O’Brien will emcee the event.

Saturday features numerous free classes and workshops for all ages at the Vernon Community Arts Centre.

Activities run the gamut from fused glass making to creative writing, felting, intuitive painting and working in the pottery studio. (Call 250-542-6243 or visit to pre-register.)

The Vernon Public Art Gallery is also getting in on the action with its free Family Saturday event.

“Join us at the VPAG for a day of print making inspired by Roy Henry Vickers. This Family Saturday is being offered free of charge in celebration of Culture Days, so come celebrate with us this Saturday, Sept. 26,” said VPAG executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant.

Participants will use water-soluble crayons on plexi-glass printing plates. Everyone will receive instruction on creating an image inspired by B.C. printmaker Vickers.

Parents are encouraged to participate, and everyone will get to run their plate through the printmaking press. Materials to make one print are covered in the free admission of the workshop, however, if participants want to make additional prints a $1 charge per additional print applies.

(Call 250-545-3173 or sign up online at, as space for this workshop is limited.)

The fun continues Sunday, Sept. 27 with the Art for the Whole Family drop-in class at the Vernon Community Arts Centre, where families can work together on a free art project from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The historic Caetani Cultural Centre on Pleasant Valley Road is also participating in Culture Days and is hosting a free concert as the last show of its music series on the Sunday at 2 p.m.

The performance features Shuswap band The Trips and all are welcome to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of music.  Bring your blankets, folding chairs, and a picnic to enjoy. A selection of refreshments will also be available for purchase.

Back at the Vernon Community Arts Centre, Sunday at 4 p.m., is a coffee house, providing an intimate setting for local performers to showcase their work.

A small stage will be set up for performers, and groups of chairs/coffee tables will be spread throughout the rest of the room for audience members. Performers will have 10 to 15 minute time slots, with 5 to 10 minutes in between acts for set up. Refreshments will also be available.

For a full schedule of events, visit