Images of crowds in the thousands gathering at the Whistler Children’s Art Festival, pictures of Performance Series sell-out shows such as Ache Brasil and photographs of celebrities mingling at the Whistler Film Festival flash behind the winner of this year’s recipient of the Whistler Business and the Arts Award, presented Wednesday at the Four Seasons Resort.
“It’s part of the Nesters philosophy: to be a part of the community,” said award recipient Bruce Stewart, manager of Nesters Market. “I don’t think you can have arts without the support of business. Arts also support business. It’s all reciprocal.”
He acknowledged fellow nominees The Grocery Store owners Bob and Sue Adams as “Nesters Arts Nemesis” — The Grocery Store provided immeasurable support for the Whistler Theatre Project’s inaugural 2006 season. The Adamses are also past Whistler Business People of the Year.
Without the generosity of local businesses such as these, Whistler’s cultural extravaganzas, such as the Children’s Art Festival and the Performance Series would not have been fully realized and all the artists, performers and musicians involved in these celebrations overlooked.
“You see the Nesters name everywhere,” said John Hewson of the Whistler Arts Council. “It’s unbelievable how much you do in the community. You’ve shown incredible leadership and inspire a lot of people to get up and do the art that they do.”
Stewart and his staff were honoured for their incredible show of support to ensure arts and culture continues to have a vibrant, ever-growing presence in Whistler.
When asked what arts, heritage and cultural organizations Nesters has sponsored over the past 10 years, Whistler Arts Council executive director Doti Niedermayer needed to help jog Stewart’s memory — the support list is long and steadily growing.
MY Millennium Place, the Whistler Children’s Chorus, Bratz Biz, Whistler Museum and Archives, Whistler Film Festival, Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival and Whistler Arts Council programming and festivals are only a few organizations that have benefited from Stewart’s and Nesters’ generosity.
Stewart was presented with a framed photo capturing Fissile and Whistler Mountain blushing in alpenglow, taken by local shutterbug Leanna Rathkelly. Every year, a different artist presents an artwork for the award, providing both an economic opportunity and recognition for the artist as well as acknowledging the business recipient’s efforts.
“Artists are like icebergs,” Hewson said. “You only see the tip of their efforts, not all the hard work and process below.”
By supporting the process, Nesters Market helps ensure both emerging and established artists continue to succeed and live in the Sea to Sky corridor.
Guest speaker Peter Legge, CEO of Canada Wide Media, drew on the words of Gandhi to illustrate the incredible contribution Nesters makes to its community.
“Be the change you want to see in the world,” Legge said. “Don’t just talk about it or point at other people, but be the change in the world.”