As some of you may know, beyond my work here at Wild Slide I am also the communications coordinator for the Penticton Art Gallery. I was hired on in February to help-out with a new festival called “Ignite the Arts” which came from the mind of Curator Paul Crawford. It was a whirl wind to get it all together, but once I familiarized myself with the amazing crew and talented folks here at the Gallery, it became apparent that we MIGHT just pull this one off – and it looks like we are doing a pretty great job so far! As an aside to my normal presentation related content, I thought today would be a great time to recap the incredible weekend I just had and highlight a few things coming up this week, rolling into April.
FRIDAY – MINI MURAL UNVEILING
Friday night was literally full of cheers and beers. The staff here at PAG really have been working their buns off the last month to get everything prepped for our festival guests, so it was a pleasant beginning for us all to have the time to head to Cannery Brewing to take in the newest SQUARE Mini Murals. We all closed shop here at the Gallery and made our way as a staff collective to the best nachos in town. We have more than just me as relatively new staff here, so beyond the ability to take in some incredible brand-new murals, we also had a great time getting to know each other better, and meeting some of the artists in person. We want to thank the Cannery for being so wonderful when it comes to the Mini Mural Project, and they will continue to support the Festival in a huge way by being 1 of 4 of our day stage venues next weekend. More on that below.
SATURDAY – EXHIBITION OPENING
Saturday! One low, many highs! Mid day we did have a mini problem when our copy printer ran out of yellow ink, and when you have a program and festival ripe with fire related puns and colours, it turns out that is important. Paul to the rescue of course, and a quick trip to staples to print out what we needed to finish up our preparation was all that was needed.
One of the events we started the night off with was the “Parade for No Reason” and it was a huge success! Thank you so much for all those that turned out, especially all the kids and Bryce Beckett with “Inspire Circus” for bringing us the perfect parade energy. The costumes and the music and the bubbles and the roller-skates! Gord Goble of Penticton Now was along for the ride and I can’t wait to see the pictures he managed to get for us. I will make sure to share that article as soon as it comes out for us all to see. We marched along the streets of Penticton, Just as willy-nilly as I expected and even managed to stop for a photo op in front of Cannery Brewing. We got a lot of happy waves from those driving past, and a personal highlight was seeing our exhibition artist Ari Neufeld dressed as a party lobster.
Immediately afterwards we got to work checking everyone into the gallery to officially open the three exhibitions: “Self-Preservation” (Danielle Krysa) “I know it’s silly…” (Ari Neufeld) and “Migration Parade: Holon” (Danielle Savage and Alexandra Goodall). Walking around I overheard giddy laughs at Ari’s terrific dad jokes, introspective listening to the meaning behind Danielle Krysa’s clay cigarettes, all rounded out with a moving collaborative violin and dance performance in the Main Gallery, using the sound and vibrations from the Felted sculptures of Alexandra Goodall and Danielle Savage. I was then captivated by the sweet sounds of Daryl O’Neill in the tea room, something I had the pleasure of seeing before covid, but didn’t know I missed so much. I went home with a full heart.
SUNDAY – AWAKENING: FIRST BLOSSOMS/SPRING EQUINOX
Sundays are for sleeping in, and that is just what I did. Unfortunately, I did not manage to pull myself out of bed for the SOICS unbox event at the Dream Café, (blaming this on two nights of delicious Cannery Beers) but I have heard from those in attendance that it was an important and meaningful discussion. It was an incredibly thing to incorporate SOICS in this festival – arts and culture go hand it hand, and we at the gallery believe that culture is to be shared. Deep gratitude to the organizers of this event.
In the evening my partner and I slid out of our sweatpants and went to the Cleland Theatre, not exactly sure what to expect. 2 Rivers Remix Society were the main organizers of this evening event, so I only had an outline of what to expect and was delighted by what I found. Even in such a large room, the evening was intimate and warm, with not only incredibly talented Indigenous performers, spoken word and music, but opportunities to learn without prejudice sprinkled throughout. I will always remember Victoria Jaenig’s perfect comparison after welcoming us all to “Beautiful Prince George” and after a confused awkward silence, telling us that the feeling we just got was exactly like when she hears an event start out with an incorrect land acknowledgement. Pure gold. I now know what a “glottal stop” is in the syilx language written form, and I find myself picturing its placement in its spoken form. Very cool.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
I now sit at my desk preparing for the upcoming week ahead, and there are so many more things to Ignite the Arts coming up. Today is our down day at PAG, and that really is a misnomer. The Tea room is alive with our second group of spring break kid’s campers, the staff is alternating between talking about the weekend we just had, and the Oscar’s slap heard round the world.
So What’s next? Tuesday, Penticton Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts is taking over the Cleland for a “Revive the Vibe” concert, which we know will be a huge success and we wish all the performer’s a great show. More information about that can be found here.
Wednesday Night, we are back at the Dream Café for Indigenous Storytelling, an event I will not be missing. I will proactively practice my few syilx words until then. Thursday I am a speaking for the revival of Pecha Kucha, a speech I have not written because I am writing this. As Friday rolls in so will us here at the Gallery as we head once again back into the Cleland for our SPARK IT UP SHOWCASE, our official ticketed portion of the festival opening, featuring Kym Gouchie, Al Simmons, Okanagan Family Band, and some surprises are sure to be in store.
Then it’s the second big weekend full of events! I’ll save the write up about all of the going on’s Saturday and Sunday of next week, but if you want to wet your whistle a bit on all the upcoming day-stage musical acts, the sculpture day events, the art walk and more, all the information you need is in the program guide available for download here.
So that’s my little recap for now! I know it’s not always easy to bounce back from a tragic event, let alone a global one, but we here at the gallery are committed to the safety of our guests and we truly believed we can bring a little spirit back into the world, which I am starting to think we are accomplishing. There is always hiccups, there is always the unexpected, but we are so appreciative of the community support. There is still time to get involved, and if you are reading this and haven’t checked out an event yet, good news is there is still time! We sure would love to have you join us.