Tina Siddiqui

Tina Siddiqui

Vernon opens its doors to culture

There’s a ton of local events happening this weekend to celebrate Culture Days.

Greater Vernon is getting on the cultural bandwagon this week as Culture Days takes place around the country.

A number of local community arts and cultural organizations have registered with the Canada-wide celebration in hosting free events all weekend long, starting Friday.

The Vernon Community Arts Centre, which is operated by the Arts Council of the North Okanagan (ACNO), will be a hub of activity during Culture Days.

The ACNO has a membership that includes 26 arts and culture groups including potters, painters, photographers, rock hounds, wood carvers, actors, dancers, musicians and others. Many of these groups will have literature about their organizations available for the public to look at in the lobby of the VCAC during Culture Days. There will also be free drop-in sessions and demonstrations at the centre, located at the east entrance to Polson Park (behind the Okanagan Science Centre.)

“The ACNO strongly supports all our local organizations initiatives in promoting arts and culture for everyone,” said April Sheehan, with the council.

Those who wish to drop in to the VCAC’s clay and painting studios can do so Friday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., while the glass studio will be holding a free drop-in and glass fusing demo, where participants can make a plate, Friday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. (Cost to participate in the glass fusing is $11 plus tax to cover materials.)

Local guitarist Manfred Harter will provide background music to those who have dropped by to paint or draw, Saturday from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

The Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club will be demonstrating to the public how they work with rocks and will answer questions from the public, Friday and Saturday,  from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the VCAC.

The Vernon Community Potters group will also be presenting a firing demonstration in the yard of the VCAC, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Obvara is a raku style technique of finishing the surface of pottery. After bisquing, the pottery is heated to about 1650 degrees Fahrenheit, dunked into a fermented flour and yeast mixture, then dunked into water to be rapidly cooled. The pieces range from off white to almost black with speckles, resulting in a beautiful, but not food safe finish.

And there’s more…

Over at the Vernon Public Art Gallery, a poetry reading, artist talk and open discussion will take place Friday at 7 p.m.

The discussion revolves around the VPAG’s current exhibitions, Decolonize Me and PUTI KwALA Okanagan (We Are Still Here) by the Kama? Aboriginal Arts Collective. It features Margo Tamez, assistant professor of Indigenous studies at UBC Okanagan, Mariel Belanger (Syilx) and Garry Gottfriedson (Secwepemc), who will share poetry and thoughts on the current state of First Nations peoples in Canada and B.C.

“As a poet, Indigenous rights activist, and scholar, I feel deeply connected to the subject matter being addressed by these artists, and as a Lipan Apache residing in the unseeded Okanagan territory, these artists are teaching me a history that has been hidden from society,” said Tamez. “I’m deeply connected to these ideas and have deep respect for the materials that these artists are utilizing to foreground sensitive and diverse messages.”

The artist talk features Yellowknife artist Nigit’stil Norbert, one of the artists featured in Decolonize Me, who is from Yellowknife and will speak on her contributions to the exhibition.

The event is open to the public with admission by donation. Light refreshments, coffee and tea will be served.

The VPAG is also hosting a free Family Days workshop on Aboriginal dot painting, open to children ages five and up and their parents, Saturday at 1 p.m. All materials will be supplied.

The Vernon Performing Arts Centre and Vernon library are hosting the inaugural BookSmack in the Performing Arts Centre’s lobby Friday at 7 p.m.

It features author/poets John Lent and Laisha Rosnau, storyteller Gabe Newman, and librarians Kristy Hennings and Stephanie Volick, who will speed review as many books and films as they can.

Each smacker has 10 minutes to pitch each item, and audience participation is encouraged.

The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives is hosting a free family friendly event, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Participants can search the museum displays to find the artifacts that do not belong, then exercise their creative sides at the museum’s craft stations. Draws are also taking place throughout the two days.

Those curious on what is happening with the Greater Vernon Cultural Plan can get the details at an open house to be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Village Green Centre.

The Caetani Cultural Centre is getting in on the action with a free concert and the last event of its summer music series, featuring Vernon trio The Creeks, Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Bring a blanket, folding chair, and a picnic to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of music. A selection of refreshments will be available for purchase and admission is by donation.

And not to be forgotten is the Allan Brooks Nature Society, who along with the City of Vernon and the RDNO will not only be celebrating Culture Days but B.C. Rivers Day, Sunday at Polson Park.

There will be family activities, live music, entertainment and live demos by the Vernon Fire Zone, Vernon Search and Rescue as well as the Kal Fly Fishers, plus Smoky the Bear will be saying hello to all the kids.

More info on all registered Culture Days activities throughout the country can be found at www.culturedays.ca.