There have been a few twist and turns for organizers of Pemberton’s first Children’s Art Festival.
The event, set to take place on June 30, is the culmination of several weeks of afterschool art workshops for kids six to 12 years old — and they almost didn’t happen.
“The background for all of this is that the museum and the arts council put in a large application to celebrate Canada 150,” said Marnie Simon, chair of the Pemberton Arts Council. “We weren’t successful.”
In the wake of that disappointment, the Squamish Lillooet Regional District, through its Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee, said they might be able to help with funding. “We made our little pitch and they were happy to do it,” Simon said. “A big thank you to the Village (of Pemberton) and the SLRD for giving us the money and letting this happen. That was very generous of them and they unanimously voted that we get it.”
At first, registration for their two-month, six-session art workshop was slow and organizers were a little worried. “We were hoping for 15 kids because that’s the cut off for one adult managing a group a kids,” Simon said. “But we did a bit of a push because it wasn’t filling up very quickly — which is typical of Pemberton. Then at the last minute we had too many! It’s really quite the group. The average age is seven or eight with two boys out of the 17. It’s pretty amusing.”
The budding artists were tasked with creating art related to the history of the Pemberton Valley in the last 150 years from the perspective of Mount Currie watching everything unfold. Other than a photo of the towering mountain taken by local photographer Dave Steers, and the stories, they were let loose to paint.
The resulting lanterns they created will be displayed at the Pemberton Museum during the festival on Friday (June 30). They will also march their pieces through town as part of the Canada Day parade the following day.
“The whole concept has been to give the children a really unique art experience, which they’ve certainly had,” Simon said. “I think they enjoyed it.”
All local kids will have a chance to create art during the festival from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum. All completely free and open to everyone, the event will feature three musicians playing music, cookies courtesy of Lisa Vertefeuille from The Flour Pot for kids to decorate with edible paint and a craft tent with everything from painting to bracelet-making. The museum has also set up games throughout the space, including a maze, hop scotch and a scavenger hunt.
“The seniors will do a kids cookie stand and serve coffee — adults might need it,” Simon said, with a laugh. “I know I will.”
One of the highlights of the festival: a local farmer is lending the group a hay trailer to decorate for the Canada Day parade. “There are tons of things for kids to do,” Simon added. “I think they’ll go crazy trying to do them all.”
The festival will kick off on Friday (June 30) at the museum at 1 p.m. with a welcoming dance from the Lil’wat Nation and it will wrap up around 4 p.m. The event is free and open to everyone.