To the editor:
It’s a warm September afternoon in Kelowna, and the Okanagan sky is clear and blue, accented only by the rolling mountainous surround.
A small group of people can be seen gathering in front of City Hall. To an onlooker, it is apparent that several of the group members are carrying white canes. What is less obvious, potentially surprising, is the reason for the gathering.
A car pulls up; the driver is Sharon McCoubrey, key organizer of the Lake Country Art Walk. Many folks might not yet make the connection, but this cannot be said of Sharon, who had contacted me several weeks prior, asking if I might assist with the organizing of a group of people who are sight impaired to attend this year’s Lake Country Art Walk.
“This event is run entirely by volunteers,” Sharon pronounced during our visit, and now that the time had arrived, we were about to discover just what a group of volunteers were capable of organizing.
A number of our party’s members were already at the Art Walk, full well knowing the vast amount of art available at this exciting event.
As for those of us arriving from City Hall, we were to get there during a quiet point in the day which allowed for a more personal experience of a select portion of the art exhibits.
Upon arrival we met up with the others from our group, while enjoying the melodic harp serenade of Kelowna harpist, Sarah Mainland.
The first exhibit was a collection of sculptures, described to us by local artist Lynden Beesley, together with a second artist, Mel Hunt. If I am not mistaken, Lynden’s Medusa was a slight favourite; who can resist feeling all those snakes?
We were then escorted into the community centre, where Sharon described several pieces of fabric art, which were amazing to the touch. We were quizzed on our tactile abilities, as many of the pieces were representational works of nature scenes, while many others were deliciously abstract.
Speaking of delicious, once we had satiated our artistic appetites, we were then invited to participate in the already in progress wine and cheese reception. This outdoor space was buzzing with the sounds of conversation in tandem with the improvisational piano playing of Kelowna-based musician Jordan Leibel.
Our table of eight visually impaired members, including guides, were filled with heart-felt appreciation for the creative experience we were gifted, yet there was more.
The evening ended with a theatre performance by local playwright Carl Hare, The Eagle and The Tiger, after which we were all safely driven home.
Talk about a cultural potpourri, complete with art for the touch, music for the soul, and theatre for the finale.
Many thanks to Sharon McCoubrey, for her generous, inclusive nature and to all of the volunteers who made this exciting event possible.