There were supposed to be 60 artists in 60 spaces for the 60th anniversary of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan.
Social media being what it is, however, the call for submissions soon went viral, in a local sort of way, and within one month the arts advocacy organization had collected over 70 submissions from the creative community.
This would have been a landslide success story, except for one problem: only 30 spaces materialized to showcase all that effort.
And that has ARTSCO staff frantically combing the community for places to hang and stage great work.
“We’re looking for even the unexpected places,” said organizer Nicole Ensign admitting the project now faces a daunting task.
Originally to start by the end of July and run through to September, the anniversary showcase has now become a madcap race to secure as many places to house a little free art as possible before they must assemble the print catalogue of all of the individuals, artists and businesses who throw open the doors to provide space or artwork.
“Some of the showcases might only happen for a day and some could go on for a month or two,” said Ensign. “It kind of depends on what the organization or business wants in their space.”
So far, they have had galleries, coffee shops and even an auto dealership offer up a wall.
“We have a wide variety of submissions so even if the business or organization doesn’t have wall space, we can bring in easels, we can give them a performance, a dance,” said Ensign.
ARTSCO began in 1953 as the Kelowna and District Arts Council and the first directors published a manifesto, of sorts, in the newspaper.
“The work of the Arts Council is important because the arts, to a great degree, determine what kind of people we are, what kind of lives we lead and what use we make of ourselves, our time and our country,” said a message Rev. Francis Godderis, one president during the first decade.
In the early years, it cost $2 for a membership and $10 for groups or societies to join and another small editorial on the old newspaper page indicates the group hoped to align itself with the Central Okanagan’s signature event, Regatta.
“Do the Regatta and a Festival of the Arts seem to be improbable associates? The Arts Council thinks not,” it read, in an early sports-versus-arts debate.
The group has a symbol it still uses, a First Nation-style sun designed by Zeljko Kujundzic, one of the early members.
To help ARTSCO celebrate its anniversary please contact Nicole Ensing, program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. One can find out how to view the work via the website.