A group shot of the 2014 Taste for the Arts

A group shot of the 2014 Taste for the Arts

A taste of the arts

The Okanagan School of the Arts aims to empower all creative spirits, and it’ll be local culinary artists taking centre stage this weekend

The Okanagan School of the Arts aims to empower all creative spirits, and it’ll be local culinary artists taking centre stage this weekend during the Taste of the Arts.

“We’re going to have chefs and food establishments come here and provide food for everybody,” said executive director Jane Shaak.

The celebration is open to those whole love the arts, and takes place at the Shatford Centre on Sept. 26, just in time for guests to tour the school’s brand new commercial kitchen, before it’s open to the public.

“The official opening for the kitchen is planned for a gala affair in November,” Shaak said, adding that culinary classes will begin in the kitchen later in the fall.

The creative possibilities at the Shatford Centre are further accentuated with the addition of an industrial kitchen.

“We can have these really nice intense times together where we learn about food, community, art and creativity.”

Shaak said after three to four years of planning, the OSA was able to bring the new kitchen to fruition with help from the Rotary Club of Penticton, who raised half of the $220,000 price tag, and the facility has been named the Penticton Rotary Community Learning Kitchen.

“It’s a fusion of resources and facilities, so we’re pretty able to handle almost all things here,” she said. “You’ll have music in one room and people making art in another, and a group of potters shaping their clay somewhere else in the building. If people have ideas about something they want to create, share or teach, usually we can find a way to help make it happen.”

During the Taste for the Arts this weekend, guests will have free reign over selections from 12 locally restaurants, as well as three wineries and Cannery Brewing. Providing music will be Will Schlackl and Brett Sizmar.

“Everything we do here is pretty innovative. It’s always moving with the energy.”

The event begins at 6 p.m. in the auditorium, and tickets cost $40, or $35 for OSA members.

Also happening in the auditorium this fall is the fourth annual We Love Documentary Film Festival from Oct. 16-18, run by the executive director of the Documentary Organization of Canada, Pepita Ferrari.

“She picks six high quality films that she’s carefully considered for the community,” Shaak said. “It will be a really intense, educational experience.”

Another woman dropping into the Shatford Centre to share some culture this fall will be Ana Ooman, who will be sharing the traditions she was surrounded by while growing up in Mexico City.

“She does tremendously beautiful work. There are classes for children and adults. One class focuses on Day of the Dead. This is an example of sharing and learning about a culture and really appreciating it,” she said. “We love that idea. How do we get other cultures to share traditions, celebrations, and what’s important to them.”

Ooman’s classes begin on Sept. 23 and are offered every Wednesday until Dec. 2.

Shaak said the creative community in Penticton has all the right conditions to be able to punch so strongly above its weight

“We have such beautiful landscape and surroundings. We also have very talented people who live here, retirees and artists who just want to live here to be inspired. We have very creative people who live in this area – it’s phenomenal when you start to discover the vast richness of creativity in the valley.”

And as the cooler weather makes its way in, local farmers will soon be taking refuge at the Shatford Centre. The winter markets are scheduled for Nov. 7, 20, and Dec. 5 and 19.

“It’s a beautiful way to support the farmers and really promote our local agriculture industries.”