As mid-winter approaches, there is much to celebrate.
The Okanagan School of the Arts, OSA, is in its sixth year after finding and renovating its home, the Shatford Centre.
The Shatford Centre is the 30,000 square feet, three storey building on two acres in the heart of the City of Penticton on the Pen High campus. Bringing this lovely and historic ‘late Victorian eclectic’ building back to life has been very rewarding.
One of OSA’s highlights this year was the installation of the Rotary Community Learning Kitchen, which we call the ‘crown jewel in a community treasure of a building.’
On the weekend of Nov. 20 and 21, we held two celebrations: On Nov 20, we thanked the contributors who paid for the renovations that allowed the kitchen to open. The budget was $220,000 and the Rotary Club of Penticton and the OSA each raised $110,000. We thanked the contributors for their generosity through a wonderful dinner created in the new kitchen. There were live performances and contributors were given an original painting named Fruition Celebration, which was created by a collection of artists. We thanked Okanagan School of the Arts Kitchen committee chair: Georgia Krebs; project contractor: Greyback Construction Ltd and Architect: Chris Allen, Landmark Architecture Ltd. The next morning on Nov. 21, we were able to invite the community into the kitchen for a quick tour at the Penticton Farmers’ Market.
We also provided our guests with a variety of delicious foods — appetizers, soups, salad, fabulous enchiladas and desserts, which had been enthusiastically prepared during the week. What a wonderful weekend to celebrate bringing the kitchen to fruition.
In terms of community events in 2015, Prema Harris, Chris Purton and I have been working on a creative event to celebrate the longest night of the year (Dec. 21), the winter solstice. With the new kitchen, this year seems like a great opportunity to celebrate with an informative program, food and festivities.
It starts at 3 p.m., where enthusiasts will meet at Pen-Henge on Munson Mountain to watch the sun set at its most southerly point, followed by 4 p.m. warming drinks at the Shatford Centre at 760 Main St. (If you don’t go up to Munson Mountain, you are welcome to come to the rest of the event).
Around 4:30 p.m., there will be a program exploring the meaning of the solstice, astronomically, its effect on nature, and how humanity has responded to it through its cultural traditions.
At 6 p.m., there will be a humble dinner with local foods and worldly flavours. The event is open to everyone, by donation. We are hoping that individuals will bring instruments, perhaps a poem or other ways to celebrate this special occasion.
You can also let us know if you would like to volunteer with decorating, cooking food, set up and entertainment. All ages are invited to participate. Please RSVP by Dec. 19 to 250-770-7668 or e-mail email@example.com.
In 2016, there are exciting events, projects, programs and conferences to look forward to at the Okanagan School of the Arts, Shatford Centre, such as the Okanagan Valley Writer’s Festival being held April 8 to 10; music programs in July — Strings the Thing, Rock Skool and JazzCool.
The first Fibre and Fashion Conference will be held from Sept. 19 to 25, the We Love Documentary Film Festival is scheduled for Oct. 14 to 16 and the inSpirit Festival is being held Oct. 21 to 23.
One 2016 creative community event is the Penticton Arts Council’s third Annual Arts Awards being held at the Shatford Centre on Feb. 18. Everyone is invited to nominate in 14 categories. You can go to pentictonartscouncil.com for the details.
This column is the first in a series with news of our creative community. If you or your organization have events coming up, please send your information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Shaak is the executive director of the Okanagan School of the Arts/Shatford Centre.