Anita Neufeld, CACV social media volunteer, recounts CACV’s Culture Days celebration.
If you didn’t make it to Community and Arts Throughout Our Lives, here’s a little rendition of our afternoon at Britannia Community Services Centre, September 25th, 2010.
We were pretty excited at the Community Arts Council of Vancouver (CACV) to be part of the 2010 Culture Days. Although BC had a ‘quiet’ presence in this year’s national celebration, there was no reason why we couldn’t show our spirit. So CACV took on the challenge of organizing a free community arts event, powered by about a dozen dedicated volunteers.
A panel discussion started the afternoon off and included presentations from Mountain View Cemetery, The Purple Thistle Centre, Rhythms for a Passionate Heart and Melanie Schambach. (We’ll be posting videos of these so keep your eye on our Twitter and Facebook feeds.)
Particularly illuminating for me were the innovations happening at Mountain View Cemetery. I wasn’t sure exactly how a cemetery related to community arts at first but as I listened to Miranda Szjiarto and Glenn Hodges, I learned how they’re incorporating historical forms of mourning from different cultures into modern ceremonies. Creating lanterns and stone mosaics, processions, shrines and more are being reintroduced into the process of grieving. They bring communities together to create, bond and heal in a way that seems so much more comforting than a sterile burial. Lesson of the Day: Art always takes unexpected forms. Perhaps death is one of them?
What I most looked forward to that afternoon was the drumming session with Lyle Povah. Yep, he brought enough drums for everyone! We created a circle in the sunny courtyard at Britannia, and drummed until we were shushed by nearby librarians. Now I have the guts to try Lyle’s drop-in drum sessions on Sundays at Jericho Hill Centre from 3-5pm. How exhilarating!
For the last activity, we were ushered inside where Melanie Schambach led us in a mosaic activity. Our numbers had dwindled by this point a bit, the sun was too irresistible, but the quality of our conversation about how and why we chose our collage images didn’t.
All in all, our small, thoughtful and enthusiastic group made for a satisfying afternoon. Amid larger Culture Days events, ours was a well-needed time for reflection and learning. It’s inspiring that CACV is focused on bringing free, widely available community arts activities to Vancouver. It’s the missing ingredient in our social and cultural life here.
Culture Days 2011 will be Fri, Sept. 30 to Sun. Oct. 2. CACV is planning a program on Community Arts in Vancouver: Past, Present & Future. We will celebrate the City’s 125th Anniversary and CACV’s 65th Anniversary.
Click here for 10 ideas for participating in Culture Days.