FILE — Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director Dauna Kennedy shows off the gallery’s backroom, which she said illustrates the need for a cultural centre. North Okanagan residents voted on the cultural centre referendum in tandem with municipal elections Oct. 20. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Letter: Celebrating Vernon’s cultural creatives

The time is right for Vernon to celebrate the achievements of its cultural creatives.

With welcomed talks for a Cultural Centre, I believe the time is right for Greater Vernon to celebrate and permanently acknowledge the achievements and community contributions of its cultural creatives in some visible public capacity like the outdoor Sports Hall of Fame.

Greater Vernon has a diversity of local artistic talent often recognized regionally, nationally or internationally. How fitting to acknowledge and honour them in some tangible way in their birth or adopted hometown and inspire future generations to live here and create creative lives.

Some historically well known visual artists have been highlighted such as Allan Brooks, Axel Ebring and Sveva Caetani but that list of prominent artists should be expanded to include Holly Middleton, Julie Oakes, Barry Rafuse, Heidi Thompson and Michelle Loughery,mural artist along with other prominent artist names, past or present, to be included when submitted.

As well, the wall of honour could name architects such as Doug Huggins and Terry Gower who shaped our civic core; local authors such as David Pitt-Brooke, Robert Lane, Margaret Ormsby and others; world-renowned classical composer, Imant Raminsh, a 2018 Order of Canada recipient; dancers, directors, designers; indigenous artists; photographers, potters, painters and performance artists such as classical singer,Lynne McMurtry, as well as folk, jazz, or pop-rock singers; award-winning poets like brothers Patrick Lane and Red Lane (d), John Lent, and Laisha Rosnau among others; spoken word poet Shane Koyczan of 2010 Olympic fame and beyond; sculptors such as Doug Alcock and Deborah Wilson; theatre and musical theatre talent; choral and symphonic musicians; and, of course, myriad art galleries, art instructors, arts advocates, arts administrators, boards, arts patrons and arts benefactors like Marie Fleming and George Galbraith all adding to our rich cultural mosaic.

The artistic quality and diversity of the North Okanagan are breathtaking. Reference the names above and simply be astounded by the depth and breadth of their talent, influence, and impact.

In 2016, Statistics Canada cited that 9 out of 10 Canadians participated in some form of arts and culture which translates into local economic health, growth and personal enhancement.

Constructing a Cultural Hall of Fame monument now which could be relocated to a newly built Cultural Centre in future would publicly acknowledge and honour individuals and their artistic legacy to Greater Vernon which has both enriched our lives and put us on the cultural map.

B.B. Strube

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