Mo Douglas is attempting to go on a summer holiday.
"This will be the last two weeks of being allowed to breathe until November," she says, with a laugh.
That's because Arts Whistler, where she serves as executive director, is about to launch its largest Fall for Arts season yet. Its September kickoff marks the fourth year the organization has rebranded fall as a time to celebrate and enjoy the arts in Whistler.
"It's crazy how the entire sector sees it now as the full-court press," she says. "We're into year four and the momentum and traction is really there."
While more is still to be revealed, Arts Whistler released the bulk of its Fall for Arts lineup in the last two weeks.
It's all set to begin on Sept. 12 with the Fall for Arts Launch Party. There will be a street party outside the Maury Young Arts Centre from 6 to 8 p.m. which will then move inside for the opening of the Teeny Tiny Art Show.
The next night, Sept. 13, will be the first show in the Arts Whistler Live! Series that runs throughout the fall and winter. For that gig, T Riley and the Bourbon Rebels will perform old-school jazz and "upbeat, swingin' rock," alongside a swing dance workshop.
The other performances lined up for the season include "The Howl"—A Musical Masquerade, featuring Juno Award-winning performer Norman Foote and the Myrtle Philip Community School singers; Hamilton roots-rocker Terra Lightfoot; burlesque troupe The Geekenders; a community holiday singalong with Barbed Choir, Whistler's rock 'n' roll choir; the Andrew Collins Trio; a double bill of Canadian comedians Charlie Demers and Ivan Decker; and The Phonix: Time Machine Party, featuring a dance band playing Motown, funk, and soul.
"We're really pleased," Douglas says. "This one is awesomely versatile. We couldn't believe we scored Terra Lightfoot and two of Canada's top comedians are coming." The show she seems most passionate about, though, is the world premiere of útszan (to make things better), a one-woman play written and performed by Yvonne Wallace from the Lil'wat Nation. "This one-woman, multi-character show excavates Indigenous knowledge, humour, strength, and resilience through language reclamation," according to the description.
It will run from Sept. 19 to 22 with a Q&A session after each show meant to foster understanding and reconciliation.
Douglas believes it will be a powerful tool for building community between Whistler and the Lil'wat Nation. "It will be an open dialogue on, 'How do we go forward as friends and neighbours?' Not the economic aspect, but community. It should be incredibly powerful," she says.
Coinciding with that show will be the return of Hear and Now, a weekend festival that features entirely local bands and musicians.
Meanwhile, there will also be several other venues and organizations in town hosting major events and festivals under the Fall for Arts banner, including the Audain Art Museum's new exhibit Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing—French Modernism and the West Coast; The Whistler Village Beer Festival; The Whistler Writers Festival; Cornucopia; Flag Stop in the Fall—The Point Take Over at the Maury Young Arts Centre; and the Whistler Film Festival.
Arts Whistler will also be hosting its annual Holiday Market, as well as a new exhibition by rising Lil'wat Nation artist Levi Nelson.
"This is the boldest season we've ever had," Douglas says. "It's crazy what's happening ... I don't even know the half of it yet."
For more information visit artswhistler.com.