Art is a beautiful medium to use to catch attention for important causes, according to the members of Tribehouse Artist Collective, the grouping hosting an artists and activists event for Global Citizen Week.
The evening, entitled An Artists’ Eye on the World: Artists and Activists, is a panel discussion featuring three local activists whom artists might want to connect with to help further their cause.
“When we spoke to Angela Reid-Nagy she said: ‘Oh, so it’s like speed dating for artists and activists,'” said Tribehouse member and organizer Andrew Smith.
A former city councillor with a background in politics and the environmental activism, Reid-Nagy is one of the three panelists set to inspire Kelowna’s creative thinkers.
“When I first set my mission, when I was 18 years old and I was laying there in the grass looking up at the sky, I said: ‘I am going to save the world through business, politics and music,'” said Reid-Nagy.
She started her first business, Tigress Ventures, in 2006, eventually merging with Lindsay and Darrell Eason to form GreenStep Sustainability Coaching. After running for the Green Party both provincially and federally, she was then elected to Kelowna city council in 2008.
“There didn’t really seem to be time to nourish the music side of things, but it definitely has a huge influence on my life,” said Reid, whose three siblings are all singer/songwriters (sister Colleen Reid has a CD on iTunes).
Reid grew up in theatre and music and says she’s hoping that as she starts to have children and move on to raising a family, she”ll be able to bring the music back into her life as art is an important medium for social change.
“There’s so many other mediums to help capture people’s attention than the mediums I’ve used—business and politics. I think what I remember about that vision, when I said I was going to change the world through business, politics and music, is it was a realization that I wasn’t going to go chain myself to a tree or drop a banner off a bridge,” she said. “I wanted to influence circles of power in a less obtrusive way and a less forceful way.
“I think it’s more about leading by example and promoting the business and human case for sustainability, rather than always talking about negative impacts,” she added.
The other panelists include organic farmer/activist/festival organizer and artist Gabe Cipes. Cipes has already found a unique way to use art as a medium to influence change, organizing a yearly festival aimed at encouraging more sustainable, holistic lifestyles (this year called the Fertility Festival).
His work as an activist saw him travel across the country to pitch a sustainable solution to the BP oil spill off the Florida coastline and he helped found the Wetland Regeneration Alliance to conduct studies and species maps of the Okanagan wetlands.
The final panelist, filmmaker Jan Vozenilek, is currently on Midway Island working on a film about the Pacific garbage patch and its impact on the albatross population.
The Artist and Activist talk is intended to inspire artists to connect with causes, but is open to everyone.
Tribehouse Artist Collective has a mandate to use art as a medium to explore social issues and partnered with Kelowna’s Global Citizen Week committee in part to help draw attention to the week and avenues Kelowna residents can use get involved in the community; but they are also hoping to draw attention to their own festival.
The Lille Gard Music Festival, held annually in June, will focus on the artists and activists theme this year.
Global Citizen Week runs Feb. 24 to March 3 with events organized throughout town. This is the eighth year the week has been formally recognized in the city; and the second year it opens with Global Music Fest, a celebration pairing the non-profit sector, music and art (Feb. 24-25 at the Laurel Packinghouse).
An Artists’ Eye on the World: Artists and Activists, a panel discussion, runs 7-9 p.m., Mar. 2 at Bottega, 4485 Sallows Road and is free to the public.