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Arts in collage

February’s Celebration 2010 showcases Whistler’s arts potential

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"People always talk about the Banff Centre. I think there is a possibility that we can create something similar, but even better and of course unique to Whistler. We have artists living here who can give masters classes, we can bring in artists from around B.C. to showcase their talents to people from around the world."

— Joan Richoz

Another trend in the artistic development of Whistler is that we are starting to see more groups working together and drawing from one another’s skill sets. The Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival has Words and Stories, an event that showcases come of the valley’s most accomplished writers. This course bodes well for the festival, broadening the scope of attractions, and also in creating events that expose and celebrate the wealth of Whistler’s talent pool. There is a lot of room to develop this type of initiative.

"I want to bring together the local spirit of Short Skirt and the raw potential of the little high school in Alpine… It’s this support from the parents, and the possibilities I learn from the students, that I want to carry over into Short Skirt, the Whistler Arts Council, Millennium Place, and beyond."

— Heather Paul

"It’s a whole different world today. Whistler is on a rising arc of cultural and artistic growth. The town is maturing. The music scene is strengthening, the film scene is broadening, the television scene is gaining momentum, the photographic scene is red hot and the writing talent runs deep. Whistler is a magnet for seriously talented and creative people."

— Doug Perry

Money is always a factor in determining the viability of the arts, both in the production and attendance of arts events. For the performing arts, Millennium Place and the Whistler Arts Council have put a youth program in place, where up to 10 youth can purchase Performance Series events for $2 a show. There are also volunteer opportunities for most arts events, to offer financially challenged individuals the chance to attend events for free. At the same time, certain events have, by Whistler standards, high ticket prices, such as the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s showdowns. These events are sold out, which indicates that it may be attitude, not simply pricing, that influences a potential audience.

Arts in Whistler is at a turning point. The responsibility is on this community to opt to continue to work hard to develop the arts and to take advantage of the wealth of funding opportunities as well as the talent pool, or not. It may take a long time for arts to become top of mind, but the seeds have been planted, and are being sown. The possibilities are limitless. It is an exciting and crucial time and we need to work together to support the expansion of the definition of why it is that we live here, and why people come to visit. Whistler will never be the centre of the arts in Canada. But we can endeavour to redefine the Whistler experience, and our evaluation of this experience, for ourselves, the community and for visitors.

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