2021 BC Culture Days Invites You to RE:IMAGINE More Creativity and Community

Nahualli Mexican Dance Vancouver by Adrian Ortega

It’s been a difficult year and a half, with considerable sacrifice and social isolation for many. But BC Culture Days 2021 wants to remind you that hope and optimism still lie with community and artistic creation. The annual province-wide arts and culture festival returns with vibrant enthusiasm. Their 2021 theme, “RE:IMAGINE,” encourages everyone to “RE:CONNECT” with others during a festival that is safe, artistic, and above all, future-oriented.

The 2021 BC Culture Days runs from September 24 to October 24, 2021, giving you a whole month to participate in a wide range of virtual and in-person events that celebrate the rich and diverse arts and culture happening in the province.

Below are 10 reasons why this year’s BC Culture Days is going to be truly special.

New Video Series

In order to spotlight the creative work of rural and remote B.C. communities, BC Culture Days is launching a video series entitled “RE:GENERATE.” Five key communities will be showcased (Bella Coola, Kimberley, Prince Rupert, Salmon Arm, and Sooke) in videos that will be released weekly over the course of the month-long festival. The videos will feature interviews from the communities in addition to event footage, all intended to show the inspiring work of individuals and groups who adapted to COVID-19 restrictions so that they could continue to be creative and connect with one another safely.

9 Ambassadors for BC Culture Days

Carter Kirilenko

Every year, the festival chooses up to 10 arts and culture ambassadors from emerging local artists. These ambassadors hold free workshops, serve as spokespeople for the BC Culture Days and their communities, and are also given a mentor who will then work with them over the next six months to aid their growth as artists. Individuals chosen represent a breadth of artistic and cultural endeavours, ranging from music to filmmaking, and hail from all across the province. This year’s nine ambassadors are Tara Rajah, a cellist; Jeni Chen, an illustrator; Alyssa Amarshi, a dancer and member of the collective Her Tribal Roots; Carter Kirilenko, a documentary filmmaker; August Bramhoff, a photographer; Kenthen Thomas, a storyteller and teacher; Laura Rechwan, a visual artist; Valeria Ascolese, a multidisciplinary performance artist; and Jean Baptiste, a nonbinary storyteller.

The workshops they’re offering promising to be really educational and fun, like virtual Climate Solutions Film Festival hosted by Carter Kirilenko on October 24 from 4 to 5pm.

Taiko Drumming Workshop

“Uzume Taiko Drummers” Interative Virtual Taiko Drum Workshop. Uzume Taiko. Adam PW Smith, Photographer

Currently, there are 266 events registered to take place over the course of BC Culture Days, and more will be added up until September 7. There really is something for everyone. If you perform a search of the Events, you can filter your search in a variety of ways, according to format (in-person or virtual), languages offered (e.g., English, Mandarin, Chilcotin), accessibility (e.g., wheelchair accessible), and type of artistic/cultural activity (e.g., dance, craft, culinary/food).

One interactive and virtual event that looks particularly playful is a taiko drumming workshop, run by the Uzume Taiko Drum Group Society in Richmond. Basically, you’ll watch a YouTube video that will show you how to create DIY drums from common household items, like a mixing bowl, and then you’ll join the live lesson on October 9 from noon to 1pm. Registration is required for this free event (donations accepted).

Dream Catcher Workshop

Cheximiya Allison Burns Joseph

Those over 16 years old are invited to a dream catcher workshop on October 3 from 1 to 3pm at Lynn Valley Village Community Room in North Vancouver. Artist Cheximiya Allison Burns Joseph will lead participants in making their own dream catchers, as well as teach them about the cultural background and importance of them. Preregister fort his free event by calling 604-987-7529 (event ID 110513).

Weaving the Future

Weavings by L’Hen Awtwx (Squamish Weaving House); Chief Janice George weaving

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is opening its doors on October 24 from 11am to 5pm for a free showing of their new exhibition that explores Coast Salish weavers and their innovative adaptations of traditional art practices. Family-geared activities in the Hummingbird Gathering Space will also take place.

Cloudscape Comics – Halloween Returns!

Comic fans will adore this event at Cloudscape Comics HQ in Vancouver on October 16 from 11am to 1pm. The Cloudscape Comics Society, a non-profit that publishes graphic novels, will be leading Halloween-themed comic activities, such as designing spooky characters and colouring in Halloween sheets. Attendees to this free event are encouraged to come costumed and to bring their sweet tooth since there’ll be candy aplenty.

Collaborative Creative Dance for Older Adults

If you haven’t danced much in the last year and half, here’s your chance! Dezza Dance is holding a creative dance event at Aberthau Mansion (West Point Grey Community Centre) on October 22 from noon to 1pm. Older adults are encouraged to join this free event where they’ll playfully engage in contemporary dance.

Arabic Calligraphy Workshop and Studio Tour

Islamic Art of British Columbia is hosting Arabic calligraphy workshops and studio tours at Home Art Studio in Richmond over the course of four days during the festival (Sept 25 from 1 to 3pm, Oct 1 from 3 to 6pm, Oct 9 from 12pm to 3pm, and Oct 16 from 12pm to 3pm). This is a walk-in event, with a limit of 4 people at one time. You will have your name written in Arabic calligraphy and will also try your hand at writing with a bamboo pen and ink.

Sew-In Mix and Mingle

The sewing circle has been a time honoured way of forming bonds of connection and community. In this Mix and Mingle, you’re invited to bring any fibre project that you have, whether it’s knitting, crocheting, embroidering, or just darning socks. Jennie Johnston, artist-in-residence will lead the gatherings. You are free to use the sewing machines provided or experiment with supplies, like ones for embroidery. The event takes place three times (Sept 25 from 1 to 3pm, Oct 5 from 4 to 6pm, and Oct 23 from 1 to 3pm) at the Outlet in Port Coquitlam. Registration for this free event is required.

Whimsical Garden: Four Directions Canoe Garden Party

“Four Directions Canoe Garden,” Creative Cafe Collective, 2021

The City of Richmond with School District No. 38 are hosting a family-friendly garden party that centres on “Four Directions Canoe Garden,” a striking piece of public art that emerged from an artist residency program with William Cook Elementary School. Creative Café Collective, composed of Tiffany Yang, Pat Calihou, J Peachy, Melissa West Morrison, Simon Daniel James, and Yolanda Weeks, will be present, in addition to Ian Lai, Executive Director of Urban Bounty. On September 25, from 11am to 2pm, garden tours will be given on the hour. Other activities include salve-making demos using local plants and beeswax, eco-art activities, and snacking on local and Indigenous tea and small bites. The event will take place at William Cook Elementary School in Richmond.

And if these events don’t strike your fancy, there are over 200 more for you to choose from. Further information about the BC Culture Days can be found online.

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