The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games have long passed, but the provincial government doesn't want us to lose our Olympic spirit, just yet. So, they've earmarked $50,000 in funding for an arts and music festival dubbed Whistler2010-Live! to help mark the one-year anniversary of the Games in February.
"The 2010 Olympics weren't just a lot of fun, but the beginning of a significant legacy for Whistler," West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre said in a recent release. "Whistler2010-Live! will help us mark the first anniversary in style."
The $30,000 is in addition to $20,000 in already-announced funding, which brings the total to $50,000.
The provincial government has budgeted $3 million for 2011 Spirit Festivals across the province. West Vancouver received a $30,000 "top up" as Whistler did last week, for a total of $50,000 each. Surrey and Richmond both received $50,000 from the start.
Doti Niedermayer, executive director of the Whistler Arts Council, said they weren't expecting the additional funding but were pleased, because the original $20,000, which was based on population alone, probably wouldn't have been enough to program a festival.
"A town in the north of British Columbia which was three times the size of Whistler would end up getting much more, and yet we were the ones that had this incredible event during the Games and all these festivals leading up," she explained. "So I was concerned about what we would do with that money given that it was the first anniversary of us hosting the Games, and there is some expectation in the community and with our programmers and our artists and our community about how we would celebrate that anniversary."
To help leverage additional funds for the festival, before the new funding was announced, Niedermayer and Whistler partners went out to "knock on a few doors" to try and find another partner for the festival.
"Fortuitously, CTV has come on-board. So they are celebrating the first anniversary and they are going to be in Whistler at that time of year, so now we are suddenly working together and we will have a celebration that's much larger than what we would have been able to put on."
Whistler's two-week celebration, which runs from Feb. 12 to 28, will feature live music on an outdoor stage in Whistler Village, snow sculpting on Whistler Mountain, film screenings, and literary and visual arts at Millennium Place.
"We've always felt that our Celebration 2010 festival that we started in 2003 would go beyond the Games," Niedermayer said.
While the event is partially intended to revive the community's Olympic spirit and celebrate the anniversary of the Games, Niedermayer points out that it's really about showcasing local arts and culture at a busy time of year in Whistler.