Ballet B.C. among arts groups taking part in this year’s Culture Days

Culture Days: Sept. 22 to Oct. 15 at various locations in Metro Vancouver and along the Sea to Sky Corridor.

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B.C. Culture Days

When: Sept. 22 to Oct. 15
Where: Various locations in Metro Vancouver and along Sea to Sky Corridor
Info: culturedays.ca

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For this year’s B.C. Culture Days, Lance Lim wants to celebrate the thriving artistic community in Vancouver’s Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside.

“I’m trying to create a festival atmosphere,” said the dancer/choreographer, who answered a call to submit a community-based project for consideration. “We’re a neighbourhood full of creativity of energetic people. We want people to come down and experience that.”

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Lim’s proposal was awarded $5,000 in funding. The Community Engagement Award is named after Judy Robertson, a former B.C. Culture Days’ task force chairwoman and proponent of public participation in arts and culture. Robertson died in 2021.

Lim is using the money to fund Our Voices, Ourselves Community Hub as part of Culture Days, the annual countrywide three-week arts’ initiative. The B.C. component will host over 430 events across 50 communities, including the North Shore, Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby, Delta, New Westminster, the Tri-Cities, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, White Rock, Langley and Lillooet.

Activities are free or pay-what-you-can. Some are suitable for all ages.

“We’re getting back to pre-pandemic levels,” said B.C. Culture Days program director Nazanin Shoja. “It’s grown quite a bit from previous years. This time last year we definitely didn’t have as many registered.”

Events are centred around area hubs “to centralize activities so that the public can experience a variety of activities in one location, because there are such a large number of activities,” Shoja said. “It’s also a great way for them to promote what they’re doing.”

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Culture Days works with emerging artists in its ambassador program. Ten artists are presenting community events while representing the program across the province.

Vancouver ambassadors include Peisen Ding and Summer Tyance.

On Sept. 23, Ding presents an interactive exhibition called Lost and Found followed by, on Oct. 13, a Life Stories Painting Workshop. On Oct. 7, Tyance hosts an Indigenous Youth Two-Spirit Hand Drum Song Workshop.

Participating arts organizations this year include Ballet B.C., New Works, the Vancouver Improvised Arts Society, Bocadillos de teatro, the plastic orchid factory, and the Richmond Improv Theatre Society. There are culture crawls on the North Shore, New West and White Rock.

Multicultural events include the Filipino Fest, Afro-Caribbean Celebration, Discover the culture of Latin America, and the Fire Dragon Festival at the Chinese Canadian Museum.

“What’s great about Culture Days is that it ranges from small activities like workshops to entire festivals, so there’s a lot to choose from,” Shoja said.

Lim’s Our Voices, Ourselves includes a variety of activities, such as dance, hip-hop, storytelling, art workshops and art walks.

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For the hub’s Sept. 23 kickoff at the RayCam Co-operative Centre, singer Robyn Froese will perform and Co-Op Radio will host an all-ages dance. Nearby Lobe Studio is holding an open house.

“The entire place is made of speakers,” Lim said of the space, which bills itself as “the first dedicated spatial sound studio in North America to work with a permanently integrated 4DSOUND system.”

“You lie down and you feel your body shake and reverberate. I went the other day and I just couldn’t believe it. It was amazing.”

Lobe is part of a self-guided Community Art Walk that also includes MakerLabs, Hype Chocolate, and the Fazakas Gallery.

Lim, who when not organizing his B.C. Culture Days’ contributions is working on a DTES-themed piece called Don’t Feed da Pigeons with the Pigeon Den Art Collective, is clearly stoked to be playing host to visitors to his community.

“I’ve lived in the community 62 years, and I’ve organized events before but not in this capacity. It’s just a big invitation to enjoy the community and all the things that can happen there.”

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