Colleen McLaren sings from her heart on July 9 as one of the Prince Rupert artists chosen to be featured in a video series for BC Culture days as part of a nationwide appreciation of art and culture. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Colleen McLaren sings from her heart on July 9 as one of the Prince Rupert artists chosen to be featured in a video series for BC Culture days as part of a nationwide appreciation of art and culture. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Prince Rupert is chosen for BC Culture Days showcase with 18 local artists spotlighted

BC Culture Days are part of one of Canada’s largest art and culture celebrations across the nation

The city of Prince Rupert has been chosen as one of five featured communities in British Columbia in the upcoming annual BC Culture Days.

As part of one of Canada’s largest participative art appreciation campaigns, more than 18 local artists of various genres will be showcased in a video series to be run online from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24.

Nazanin Shoja, program director for BC Culture Days said the event is a national celebration of arts, culture, and creativity.

“The idea behind culture days is to bring the public behind the scenes to discover arts and culture in their local communities,” she said.

This is the first year the art and culture appreciation event is being held in Prince Rupert and is under the management umbrella of the Prince Rupert Arts Council (PRAC) who has partnered with BC Culture Days.

“We invited them to partner with us on sending out a call for artists and reaching out to local community members to see if they would like to participate in this project and showcase how artists have adapted to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic,” Shoja said. “We wanted to see how they work toward inspiring the community through creativity, and toward recovery from the pandemic.”

Sandra Jones, Prince Rupert Arts Council president said the organization was granted $3,000 to undertake the making of five-minute videos for each artist who comes from a diverse, indigenous and non-indigenous background.

“There are a lot of people involved right now,” Jones said. “We want to support the arts. We want to respond and share so we can be the hub for artists.”

While the event videos will be streamed online by BC Culture Days, Jones said the PRAC is organizing a unique live local event for the celebration which will be announced once details have been finalized.

Shoja said it’s a great opportunity to showcase Prince Rupert art and culture as the organization has been trying for many years to get the city to take part but there have been challenges to overcome.

“It is a very grassroots event that takes a lot of volunteer power to bring forward and so that can be challenging, especially for smaller communities that don’t have the municipal support behind it,” she said.

With more than 60 communities participating over the past 12 years, there have been more than 600 activities held each year. Even during COVID-19 there were a staggering 400 activities open and held, she said.

“It’s an event for all ages, and all levels of experience, because it’s really just an opportunity to discover something new and explore your own creativity,” Shoja said.

Changes to the presentation platform brought on by COVID-19 from live events to digital have made it easier for the port city and other remote, smaller communities to participate.

The “Regenerate” themed virtual platform series will focus on five rural areas across the province that do not get seen much in the mainstream media, Shoja said.

“What we’ve offered to the communities is to cover videography and post-production costs for a minimum of three videos, and any additional videos would be dependent on local sponsorships. We’re actually still inviting local sponsors that might be interested in partnering with us.”

READ MORE: Heart of our City – Colleen McLaren

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K-J Millar | Journalist
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Multitalented singer, actress, painter, and author, Colleen McLaren is one of the Prince Rupert artists chosen to be featured in a video series spotlighting the BC Culture days in a national art and culture appreciation event. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Multitalented singer, actress, painter, and author, Colleen McLaren is one of the Prince Rupert artists chosen to be featured in a video series spotlighting the BC Culture days in a national art and culture appreciation event. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Multitalented singer, actress, painter, and author, Colleen McLaren is one of the Prince Rupert artists chosen to be featured in a video series spotlighting the BC Culture days in a national art and culture appreciation event. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Multitalented singer, actress, painter, and author, Colleen McLaren is one of the Prince Rupert artists chosen to be featured in a video series spotlighting the BC Culture days in a national art and culture appreciation event. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)