What started off as an event to get people into the newly built Chilliwack Cultural Centre nearly a decade ago has, over the years, morphed into an annual, full-scale display of Chilliwack’s artistic potential. And now it’s back for another installment.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. til 3 p.m., dozens of artists and hundreds of community members will converge at the Cultural Centre for the eighth annual Cultural Collaboration Anniversary Celebration.
At its core, the event is about “showing Chilliwack how accessible the arts are … (and using that art to) build a stronger community connection,” said Theresia Reid, rentals manager at the Centre.
Beginning at the Centre’s entrance, Reid says the event spreads from Rotary Hall, through the lobby, and down the arts hallway, and will not only include numerous sights for visitors to take in, but also engaging info tables where some of the city’s arts-based groups can share what they offer.
“Some put on a really fantastic display with members in costumes,” continued Reid, who added that as much as there will be to see, there will also be lots to do, like the project created by Sylvie Roussel-Janssens.
“I created this public engagement piece … for the public to reflect on the theme of resistance, resilience and adaptation in their own lives, or regarding larger issues in society,” explained Roussel-Janssens.
Placed in the Centre’s lobby, Resistance, Resilience and Adaptation is a wind-activated welded wire sculpture featuring bits of fabric.
“It’s (sort of like) a giant crossword that spells resistance, resilience and adaptation in fabric on a seven-foot diameter grid suspended outside between two trestles,” continued Roussel-Janssens.
“So the participants will take one of these (blank) squares and alter it any way they want. They can write something, glue something on, or even some fabric burning. In their own words, or in a symbolic way, people are going to think about (the theme) and express (how that makes them feel) on that piece of fabric.
“Any little mark will do. If you’re a cancer survivor, or affected by all these difficult things in life right now and you want to express you’re resisting, or you’re resilient, or you’re adapting, you can put your mark on this fabric.”
A long-time Chilliwack resident, Roussel-Janssens says she hopes her project and the others included at this year’s Cultural Collaboration will not only creatively engage visitors, but inspire them to either create their own public art, or rally behind public art projects out in the community.
“Public art doesn’t have to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are other (ways) it can be done (affordably),” she said during a telephone interview.
“Anything that has public dollars can have public art integrated somehow. I want to see public art integrated in everything new that’s being done in Chilliwack, like sidewalks or bike racks. Murals are fine, but there are all kinds of other things that can be done to engage the public.”
“There are so many different facets of art and the definition of art is changing,” said Reid. “It can now include anything from food to fibre.
“And because the world (can be so) scary, art is that much more important these days,” she continued.
To help that along, Reid says the Chilliwack Cultural Centre strives to be a facilitator of the community’s art, regardless of its form. “We want to be a place where the arts can be found, done, and enjoyed.”
And if engaging in a huge slice of Chilliwack’s arts community revs up your hunger, Reid says cake will be served at noon to celebrate the Centre’s eighth birthday, and a hot dog concession stand—100 per cent of the profit will be given to the Centre’s Angel Fund, a charity that helps students access the arts—will be at the front.
“It’s really a great family-friendly event,” said Reid. “And it’s free!”
For more information about Cultural Collaboration, or the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, please visit ChilliwackCulturalCentre.ca.