Arts Days becomes Culture Days
St. Albert among 38 communities getting provincial assistance
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 06:00 am
There are 38 communities across the province, including St. Albert, that will be getting cash in advance of their celebrations in conjunction with the newly rebranded Alberta Culture Days.
MLA Heather Klimchuk, the province’s minister of culture, made the $375,000 announcement yesterday morning at the Citadel Theatre in downtown Edmonton.
“From Sept. 28 to Sept. 30, Albertans everywhere are encouraged to discover, experience and celebrate our province’s vibrant and unique cultural landscape,” she said. “Since its inception, Alberta Culture Days has not only grown in terms of events being posted throughout the province but in scope as well. Culture truly connects us in so many ways. ”
All told, there will be 64 different community organizations – including the St. Albert Cultivates the Arts Society – that will get to share in the pot of money being distributed. The money will be used to assist those organizations with event planning and co-ordination.
Klimchuk added that the purpose of the annual weekend event has always been to raise the awareness of the value of culture and to get more Albertans involved and participating in community cultural events, even when it was still called Alberta Arts Days. Earlier this year, the province announced that it was changing the celebration’s name to Alberta Culture Days as a way of further broadening that scope.
“Alberta Culture Days is about family, community, diversity and cultural vibrancy. It’s a celebration of everything great about this province,” she stated.
She encouraged all communities, governments, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals to get involved in the three-day province-wide celebration filled with free, family-friendly events and cultural activities.
Bob Baker, the artistic director of the Citadel Theatre, was on hand for the announcement. The Citadel is one of five locations across the province benefiting from a special Celebration Site grant because of its multi-level partnerships with other organizations to produce outstanding cultural programming for that weekend.
He provided a long list of activities and events that the performing arts venue will host, including visual arts displays, all-ages improvisational and stand-up comedy, children’s storytime, Cantonese opera and Aboriginal drumming, speakers and panel discussions.
“We are indeed planning a full weekend of family-friendly, free activities for every race, every religion, every age, every sexual orientation and every socioeconomic background. We will be featuring local artists and community arts and culture groups throughout the weekend in all of our facilities.”
At the same time that Baker was releasing early details on what is in store for audiences in downtown Edmonton, Peter Moloney was relatively mum on what St. Albertans can expect. The chair of St. Albert Cultivates the Arts, the committee that puts on StArtsFest, expressed his delight with the $4,500 in funding from the province.
“We’re very pleased in the minister’s announcement. Every bit helps in helping us to provide a quality festival weekend. We’re still in the planning stages in terms of some of the events.”
He said that this new money would go a long way towards that planning. He did hint that the one-act plays would be a bit different this year, plus a two-day visual arts workshop is being developed for artists and for the general public alike.
“It looks like it’s going to be very exciting. I think it’s going to be kind of cool, something different.”