Arts Whistler launches Fall for Arts

Kick off party set to take place on Thursday (Aug. 31) at the Maury Young Arts Centre

There’s at least one sign that arts and culture in the Sea to Sky corridor are growing: the size of the Fall for Arts Arts Scene.

The seasonal publication — in which Arts Whistler compiles events happening from Bowen Island to Birken and everywhere in between — has grown in pages by 20 to 30 per cent for each of its five issues, said Maureen Douglas, executive director of Arts Whistler.

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“This one is 60 pages,” she said. “It’s up 12 pages from the one in the summer. There are more and more classes and jam nights and all kinds of stuff in here.”

The idea of “Fall for Arts” — which is now in its second year — is to highlight and celebrate arts in the corridor during a season when locals and tourists aren’t as busy with outdoor pursuits. “It was like, hey there’s a window where we can turn people’s attention to arts and culture and showcase everything we have,” Douglas said. “It’s a time when people are feeling refreshed and interested in new things. We’re really delighted to do it again this year.”

The initiative includes events run by various arts, culture and music organizations in the corridor, but there are also several new (or revamped) Arts Whistler events on the list as well.

Highlights include:

•    Hear and Now – Whistler’s Local Music Festival, set to run on Sept. 23 and 24. With a new name, the event is heading into its second year of featuring local talent. “The lineup is impressive local acts,” Douglas said. “Some are returning from last year, some will be new to folks.”

•    BC Culture Days celebrations, taking place from Sept. 29 – Oct. 1. While towns and cities across the country will be celebrating Culture Days throughout this weekend, it’s going to be a major event in Whistler this year. For one, the Audain Art Museum has been chosen to be the launch host for the entire province’s celebrations. “All the Cultural Connector partners will be invited and any organization that wants to be part of it will be offered an opportunity,” Douglas said.

•    A re-vamped ArtWalk. This beloved event has taken place in Whistler for the last 13 years, historically in the summer months. It matches local artists with local businesses in which they can display their work for a few months. But now, it’s evolving into a “year-round showcase of local creatives,” Douglas said.
Participating businesses will receive stickers that say “We Heart Local Art” to indicate they’re a stop on the ArtWalk route. It turns out many businesses were developing meaningful relationships with the artists they were matched with and began requesting them to organizers year after year. “They almost adopted the artist they loved,” Douglas said. “Instead of going, ‘take a new one,’ it’s like, ‘let’s make this year-round’ so they can develop a relationship with the artist.”
But before all that, Arts Whistler will be kicking off the Fall for Arts season with a party on Thursday (Aug. 31). It’s set to take place at the Maury Young Arts Centre from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The Gallery inside will feature the opening of a new exhibit — Bizarre Beautiful — while musicians jam on the “People’s Piano” out front alongside live art.

“Discover what’s happening in your own hometown,” Douglas said, of the coming season. “We hope visitors take it in, but we really think this is an incredible opportunity to get innovative and discover what’s here.”

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