A&E » Arts

Fall for art, dance and music

The Whistler Arts Council brings out the creative side with drawing, painting, salsa, guitar and more



Maybe you want to commit pencil or paint to paper and create a masterpiece, or maybe a bit of dirty dancing is more up your street.

Maybe the kids want to have an Art Adventure or design their own skateboard.

The creative side of the whole family is easily catered to by one (or more) of 11 different arts and music courses for children, youth and adults at Millennium Place this fall.

What's more, there are weekly drop-ins that can appeal to both residents and visitors alongside the longer programs.

Shelagh Thiessen, acting community arts programmer for the Whistler Arts Council (WAC), says they try to offer classes in a wide range of genres that will appeal to beginners as well as more experienced people.

"There are social evenings and you can come out with friends to try something new, or you can come on your own and make new friends," Thiessen says.

With the hump season almost upon us, before the ski hills open and after the bike park closes, there is an opportunity to move the creativity indoors, she adds.

"People are looking for things to do and the weather starts to change. It gets a little rainy," she says.

"And a lot of people are moving to town and many don't have a lot of money. They're not working a ton. So we try to create something that is fun and social, but not a huge financial commitment.

Art labs are returning — they proved to be a popular night out when first brought in last winter.

"They're a once-a-month kind of thing. They are drop-ins and we've added more this fall," Thiessen says.

The evenings cost $28 ($25 for WAC members) + $10 supplies. There is also a cash bar.

"It's a great way for people to try something for an evening, not a really huge commitment with either time or money," Thiessen says.

"People can experiment with different techniques or materials, depending on what each teacher will be teaching. Some people are finding their own style and some are new to it."

Four instructors — Jill Dawson Nowack (Sept. 17), Andrea Mueller (Sept. 24), Lisa Geddes (Oct. 1 and Nov. 26) and Laurel Terlesky (Nov. 5) — will take the students through creation and experimentation in drawing, mixed media and more.

Last winter's Design Your Own Skateboard course was a popular five-class workshop that brought a lot of 10- to 16-year-old boys to Millennium Place (please note, girls are also welcome). "At first it was a bit of a struggle to find enough kids to make it a go, but it was all boys — which was fantastic — and it brought a lot of attention after that, because their friends saw what they did and thought it was super cool," Thiessen says.

The work ended up being displayed in the Youth Gallery at State of the Art during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

"The kids were very proud and I think it gave a lot of great exposure and was fun," she adds.

"And there were a lot of adults at State of the Art wondering if there would be a class like this for them, so there might be something like this on the horizon for big kids."

Chicks With Picks — back for its 13th year — is for beginner and intermediate acoustic guitar players aged 18-plus, and is run over eight weeks.

"It's a staple. People love it and it sells out every season," Thiessen says. "We get a few returnees because it is really popular."

The introductory class teaches the basics in playing, including open chords, strumming, rhythm patterns and tablature reading. The intermediate class is for those who have the basics and covers open chords, barre chords, scales and the art of jamming.

Both courses are run by Sue Stearns, running on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Oct. 5 to Nov. 30 and costing $132/$119 for WAC members. Bring your own guitar.

There are two dancing classes as well, and both styles are on the sexy side.

Burlesque for Beginners is for 19-plus and takes place in four classes over nine days, on Oct. 19, 22, 26 and 28.

Dance instructor Lorna Robb teaches it and drop-in spots are available.

"I've drawn burlesque dancers so that is the extent of my experience, but I think it will be fun. It might bring in younger workers in Whistler who are looking for something cool," Thiessen says.

"Again it's a way to try out something new and you don't need to have any experience."

The second class is also taught by Robb — Intro to Salsa/Bachata Dance — it encourages participants to take their first steps in these popular Latin dances.

Both the burlesque and salsa classes will be up in the theatre, with a cash bar.

Other classes on offer include Figure Drawing (adults 16-plus), Fine Arts Sampler (for kids eight to 12), Paint Your Style (for youth 10 to 15), and Intuitive Art Journaling (adults 16-plus).

For more information and to register, visit www.artswhistler.com.


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