Arts Rising Festival to consume Penticton

Festival includes film, photography, music, dance, dinner theatre, storytelling and more

Art of all kinds can inspire hope and create positive change.

It is the message the Penticton and District Arts Council is preparing to bring to the city with its first Arts Rising Festival.

The weekend event being held Sept. 21 to 24 will showcase and highlight a variety of artists and mediums at different venues throughout the city.

“When we started talking about doing something like this on this level the idea of revolution came up a lot. This is a time that things need to change, some dire things need to change,” said Vaelei Walkden-Brown, executive director of the arts council.

“We need to focus more on our youth and give them spaces to express themselves. There is one teenage suicide a month here in Penticton. That’s something we can shine a light on. The appearance of our downtown, we want to beautify it … help promote pride in our community and show arts do matter.”

Planning has been in the works since January for the extensive festival which includes everything from film to photography, music and dance, dinner theatre, storytelling and even an event where art is worn. Before the festival weekend officially kicks off a panel of guest speakers from the local creative community will talk about their vision for the arts at a Pecha Kucha event at Cannery Brewing on Sept. 20 starting at 6:30 p.m.

“The whole festival is about celebrating the arts and bringing the arts community together so it’s very fitting to start the weekend this way,” Walkden-Brown said.

The Snake Bite Film Festival, at Landmark Cinema, is a festival within the festival is set to bring a slate of provocative short films including one by local filmmaker Maddison Tebbutt called Darlings. This will be the second showing of the film that was shot in Penticton.

“There’s six screenings in total. The films are all about diversity and inclusion, different identities and different issues, LGBTQ, Aboriginal issues. The stories are quite confrontational and really engaging,” Walkden-Brown said. “If it doesn’t make you recoil then you’re probably dead.”

On Friday night a gala event called the Snake Ball will be held at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

During Arts Rising, a popular project called ReImagine will be relaunched. Artists were chosen earlier this year to create large scale murals on several downtown buildings and at the hospital. The project hasn’t been done in the city since the late 2000s. Walkden-Brown said artists as far away as Montreal applied to the council to be part of the project.

“We received a lot of really good entrants. We stayed locally and regionally focussed and have matched some interesting artists with appropriate buildings downtown. It has to be a fit for the brand and the artist to work,” she said.

Two separate pop up galleries, one for youth and the other for First Nations art will be setup on the 400 block of Main Street starting Sept. 22.

“We need to create a space of autonomy for our youth. They need to be cared for and nurtured and I think the arts can help do that,” she said.

On Sept. 23, Gyro Park will be filled with the sound of music. Bands will play throughout the day and dance and live art will also be showcased. On Sunday similar activities will take place at the park in conjunction with the annual kidney walk.

Those looking to hear even more music, they should head over to Lakeside Hotel parkade for Parkadium, a celebration of local musicians. The event starts at 3 p.m. and includes local bands Cosmic Brew, Lake Man and The Screen Doors.

On Sept. 24 the second ArtWear event will be held at Cannery Brewing. The title of this year’s show is Chrysalis representing the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly.

Winners of a photography contest will also be on display at Felts Photo and Printing during the festival. The contest is currently accepting entries from photographers of all skill levels in the categories of people, landscapes, wildlife and miscellaneous.

Local galleries will be open throughout the weekend and other events will be held in conjunction with the Shatford Centre.

Tickets for the Pecha Kucha, Snake Bite Film Festival, Snake Ball, Parkadium, and ArtWear are available through EventBrite. For more information about the festival visit www.artsrising.ca.