While you’re still nursing that holiday hangover and guiltily drafting your New Year’s resolutions, it’s high time to look at what’s on the horizon for 2014 in the arts.
Last week’s column highlighted the best that Whistler and Pemberton’s cultural sectors had to offer over the last 12 months, and it was clear that 2013 was a high watermark in many respects. We had probably the most jam-packed event schedule in the resort’s history, which clearly played a huge role in ushering in the busiest summer on record. The highly anticipated Audain Art Museum broke ground for it’s anticipated 2015 opening, and the Community Cultural Plan established a much-needed framework for Whistler’s long-term future in arts, culture and heritage.
So with a successful 2013 in the rear window, we look ahead at what should be some of the biggest moments in the arts over the next 365 days.
Implementing the Community Cultural Plan
Whistler’s mayor and council have a busy schedule ahead of them for the remainder of their term with four major reports set for implementation in 2014. One of those is the Community Cultural Plan, which was spearheaded by the Whistler Arts Council and delivered to council in the summer after months of research and public engagement. The upcoming year will be a big one for the cultural stakeholders in town, with plans to begin implementation on some of the short-term recommendations included in the report. Among these strategic recommendations suggested for the next one to three years is the suggestion to provide arts and skills training for students, community members and artists of all experience levels. Municipal Hall has already taken a step in this direction, announcing a preliminary proposal to establish a two-week satellite studio program next summer on the shores of Alta Lake in tandem with Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
Other short-term recommendations include providing an avenue for local emerging artists to develop and showcase their craft and earn an income while doing so, creating a self-guided tour of Whistler artists’ home-based studios and expanding the capacity of artists and cultural organizations through mentorships.
Audain Art Museum
While it’s not slated to open its doors until mid-2015, we should start to get a better picture of just what the team behind the 5,200 square metre museum have in store over the next year.
We do know that real estate magnate Michael Audain’s extensive collection of West Coast First Nations art and works by contemporary B.C. artists could be included in the Whistler gallery, but there’s been no word yet on what exactly will make the cut.
In recent weeks it was announced that Suzanne Greening was handpicked out of 37 applicants from across the world to direct the museum. She brings her wealth of experience as former director of Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, the Canadian Clay and Glass gallery in Waterloo, and will work to integrate the Audain museum into the resort’s growing cultural offerings.
Pemberton Music Festival
The lineup for 2008’s Pemberton Music Festival is still remembered by Sea to Sky music fans as one of the best ever assembled, but thanks to poor planning and financial troubles that event’s legacy is not always a positive one.
New Orleans-based promotion company HUKA Entertainment has taken over the reins and hopes to transform the festival from its troublesome past, offering a diverse schedule that’s in line with their other signature events, like Alabama’s critically acclaimed Hangout Music Festival.
Slated for July 18 to 20 on the same location as the 2008 festival, organizers have promised to deliver a world-class festival without the operational headaches of 2008’s one-off event. Evidently, music lovers believe the hype and snatched up the first batch of Founder’s Program tickets in just 15 minutes.
May Long Weekend Festival
Another new festival on the calendar for the Sea to Sky in 2014 is the municipality’s May Long Weekend event, aimed at kicking off the resort’s summer season in style, while curbing some of the unruly behaviour that sparked community outrage this spring and resulted in thousands of dollars of property damage.
Organizers of iconic mountain bike festival Crankworx have been slated to develop the event with a municipal budget of $290,000.
A howlin’good time with Wolf Party
Wolf Party, formerly known as the Jim Webb Experience, play together for their first gig since winning the 2013 Whistler’s Music Search.
Blending a bluesy bent with Jim Webb’s gravelly vocals, Wolf Party ring in the New Year’s locals-style at the Crystal Lounge Wednesday (Jan. 1) at 9 p.m.
Aprés-ski gallery walks
If you’ve always wanted to get an up-close and personal look at Whistler’s fine arts scene, there’s no better way to take it all in then at Thursday’s (Jan.2) gallery walk.
Bringing you to 11 galleries across the resort, the Aprés-Ski Gallery Walk runs every Wednesday, starting from the Whistler Village Art Gallery at 4 p.m.
One Great Year book signing
Join Vancouver authors and couple Tamara Veitch and Rene DeFazio for a signing of their time-bending epic One Great Year at Armchair Books.
Their debut adventure novel doubles as an era-spanning love story that’s been described as “Indiana Jones meets Eckhart Tolle” and has earned accolates at major literary festivals in New York and London, as well as being optioned recently for a trio of Hollywood blockbusters.
The book signing runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 4).