Vaelei Walkden-Brown

Arts Matter: the arts in season

Executive director of the Penticton and District Community Arts Council Vaelei Walkden-Brown explores the art of the seasons.

  • Nov. 17, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Autumn is an interesting time in Penticton.  I have lived here now for just over two years and am beginning to understand the strong seasonal contrast in relation to the cultural dynamics of the city.  The hot, dry weather of our beautiful valley brings people from all over Canada.  I grew up in Edmonton and would begin drooling at the thought of the B.C. peaches early in the summer as my parents would begin discussing our summer plans.

Over the last two years living here I have observed myself craving the quiet fall atmosphere when all the tourists have gone and the local arts and music scene have more space somehow.  It is a strange mix.  On the surface, the city seems to go into a slumber, yet underneath it all the really exciting “arty things” really come alive.

Last week the Penticton Art Gallery’s Annual Soup Bowl event was sold out once again.  I finally got to attend as a guest and experience the really great feeling of our community coming together to break bread.  The art on showcase at the Under $500 exhibition is amazing and I really recommend any of you art lovers to get out and add to your collection. Coming up this weekend is Get Bent Yoga’s Snowball Local Charity Fundraiser and Dance Competition. We are so happy to be part of this thanks to Interior Law sponsoring our team. This night is a great platform for local dance teachers, non-profits and businesses and an amazing opportunity to show the positive financial impact the arts can have on our community.

On Wednesday, Nov. 23 the Penticton and District Community Arts Council is proud to present Michael Occhipinti and the Sicilian Jazz Orchestra.  Occhipinti will open the evening at St. Saviour’s Church with a talk about his music and the inspiration behind the Sicilian Jazz Orchestra. His touring resume includes The Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), the Festival Cultural de Zacatecas (Mexico), the Jazz Yatra (India), The Ubuntu Project (Netherlands), Musikfest (U.S.), and the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival (Canada).

We are also excited to work with the Downtown Penticton Association and downtown business and building owners to exhibit more local art in storefronts through the downtown core.  You will be able to see these windows come to life over the next few weeks.

When I first moved here I was told countless times that “Penticton dies in the winter.”  I have found this to be entirely opposite.  In my opinion the spirit of the city in these shoulder seasons really shows the creative depth of the city.  We, along with our fellow arts organizations, understand the need to unite and create a collaborative community resource that makes exciting events such as the ones mentioned here, more readily accessible.  Conversations and strategies are being made and you can look forward to learning more about Penticton’s vibrant arts and culture scene in the very near future.

Vaelei Walkden-Brown is the Executive Director at the Penticton and District Community Arts Council.

She can be reached at


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