To celebrate BC Culture Days, from Sept. 23 to Oct. 16, 2022, the Province is providing support for free and affordable activities and events throughout British Columbia.
“In Canada, and here in B.C., Culture Days is an invitation to residents, and everyone who makes our province so dynamic, to celebrate who we are and where we came from,” said Melanie Mark, Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “We are proud to proclaim BC Culture Days and to support communities with free and affordable events that celebrate our diverse history – together.”
The opening ceremony for BC Culture Days 2022, in Vernon on Friday, Sept. 23, was organized by Arts Council of North Okanagan, in partnership with Tourism Vernon and hosted on Okanagan Indian Band land. Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, attended the ceremony to present the provincial proclamation on behalf of Mark. The event featured interactive art activities and performances, and served as the official launch for other community events throughout the province being held during the month-long recognition.
“Culture Days is an important nationwide designation to strengthen and increase awareness, appreciation, participation and engagement in the arts and cultural life of communities,” Sandhu said. “In B.C., we have so much to celebrate. This province's vibrant culture enriches our lives in countless ways and makes our communities inspiring and dynamic places to live and raise our families. It is through sharing our culture that we grow closer as a community.”
Culture Days is administered by the Society to Bridge Arts and Community, under its sister organization the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture, and supported by a $60,000 grant from the Province. The society works alongside a provincial volunteer taskforce and steering committee, as well as numerous community arts and cultural organizations, and municipalities to provide free or affordable events and activities in communities throughout the province. This year’s recognition provides an opportunity for people to attend in-person events to show their support for artists after a difficult two years brought on by the pandemic.
In addition to community celebrations, each year emerging artists are appointed as BC Culture Days ambassadors. These artists are given the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program with an established artist and contribute to a creative project aimed at enhancing community engagement. This year, the ambassadors will be presenting a series of micro-documentaries to be shared on the BC Culture Days website.
Nazanin Shoja, program director, BC Culture Days –
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Province of British Columbia for their support of BC Culture Days. This funding makes possible a host of activities in communities throughout B.C., that showcase the arts, history, culture and contributions of this important sector, while heightening awareness and appreciation for the people and cultural institutions that keep it vibrant and strong.”
Caroline Ivey, member, National Culture Days board –
B.C. has such a strong hub for arts and culture that is recognized across Canada and around the world. Every year, it’s great to have this provincial proclamation to highlight the vast diversity of the art and culture sector. I am especially honoured to have Vernon chosen for this year’s launch event and to have this opportunity to shine a bright light on the incredible cultural talent of this region.”
Gale Woodhouse, executive director, Arts Council of North Okanagan –
"Arts and Culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of our communities. We are honoured to commemorate this year’s BC Culture Days, with support from the B.C. government, by hosting this kick-off event that celebrates the arts and culture in this region.”
Pauline Archachan, Language Nest Elder, Okanagan Indian Band –
“The recognition of Indigenous communities as an essential part of our province’s celebration of BC Culture days, pays respect to the central role Indigenous heritage and traditions have in the cultural richness of this province. We are pleased to be participants in the opening ceremonies of BC Culture Days that invite the public to discover and honour all aspects of the cultural sector in this province.”
- The BC Arts Council also provided funding for this year’s Culture Days, including:
- $5,000 for local artists and production expenses for the Vernon Culture Days festival hub and launch event.
- $30,000 through the Arts Impact Grant for Earth Endeavours led by BC Culture Days ambassadors.
- The BC Culture Days Ambassador program is aimed at breaking down systemic barriers for artists in under-served communities and drawing diverse audiences through culturally accessible programming and professional development opportunities.
- BC Culture Days 2021 featured 464 activities registered in 60 communities throughout B.C.
- National survey results indicate that 10% of British Columbians (approximately 500,000 people) attended Culture Days events in 2021, the highest rate of any province.
BC Culture Days: https://culturedays.ca/en/bc