The arts community in the Penticton area is taking creative expression to a whole new level with the upcoming Arts Rising festival.
The festival, taking place throughout the city this weekend, is a first for Penticton.
“We’ve never had an arts festival in this community, which is a huge thing because we have a very vibrant arts scene here,” said Laurel Burnham, a Penticton Community Arts Council director and one of the event organizers.
“It’s really important we learn how to celebrate our own community.”
The four-day festival organized by Penticton Community Arts Council with the help of many partners, includes a variety of mediums including film, music, dance, photography, painting, storytelling and even fashion.
The multi-venue festival is all located in the downtown core making the entire event walkable.
Burnham said the inaugural Arts Rising is focused on increasing artistic visibility and celebrating talent in the community. As the festival establishes itself, it will become a tourism draw, Burnham said.
“We can add a whole new dimension. People just don’t come for peaches and beaches anymore,” she said. “If you have any kind of understanding of cultural tourism, you see the opportunities that are here. We need to really start emphasizing arts and culture. For every dollar invested in arts and culture you get $8 back.”
The Arts Rising festival kicks off Thursday night at Cannery Brewing at 6:30 p.m. with a Pecha Kucha. Ten speakers from the community will talk about their vision for the arts in Penticton.
On Friday night the Arts Rising Youth Pop Up Gallery opens at 456 Main St. There will also be a First Nations Pop Up Gallery at Theytus Bookstore at 419 Main St.
“There is a terrible ongoing tragedy of youth suicide in our community. We need to help by providing our youth with creative outlets for self expression and identity,” she said.
Work is underway to revive the previous ReImagine mural program.
Starting mid-week, artists are creating large scale works of art on exterior walls of several downtown businesses and the hospital with painting wrapping up over the weekend.
The festival within the festival — the Snake Bite Film Festival — will have its first screening on Friday at the Landmark Cinema. Five films will be shown over the course of the weekend including local filmmaker Maddison Tebbutt’s short titled Darlings. A gala event takes place Friday night at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and includes live music and burlesque performances.
Sunday morning features films for children. The festival finishes with the screening of the five entries in the Snake Bite 48-hour film competition. The competition saw teams write, shoot and edit short films within a 48-hour time period.
Gyro Park will be the centre of creative expression on Saturday and Sunday, with music, dance, live art and art vendors. Everyone will have a chance to get their creative juices flowing in the crafting tent, which is focused on up-cycled crafts.
On Saturday, the roof of the Lakeside Hotel parkade will be transformed into a stage for local musicians and Okanagan bands from noon into the evening. Bands in the lineup include Cosmic Brew, Lake Man and The Screen Doors and more. A photo competition is being hosted at Felts Photography over the weekend.
Downtown galleries will all be open, offering different presentations, including storytelling at Saint-Germain Café, workshops at Little and Long Studios and the Martin Street Gallery. The second annual ArtWear takes place at Cannery Brewing on Ellis Street. The show is titled Chrysalis with a theme of metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly.
Volunteers are still needed for some roles. Anyone interested can contact Amrika Tikasingh, volunteer co-ordinator, at 403-660-1146.
Tickets for main events including Pecha Kucha the Snake Bite Film Festival, Snake Ball, Parkadium and ArtWear will be available online through EventBrite. The complete program is available through the Arts Rising website www.artsrising.ca.