It was 20 years ago that two active artists in the area investigated the possibility of having a local arts council on the Peninsula, distinct from the Victoria Arts Council.
They reasoned that, as there was provincial funding available for arts councils province-wide to showcase local talent in visual and performing arts, they would apply for this area.
Managed by an elected board, the arts council applies for the eligible provincial grant that is available on a per capita basis. One qualification is that local municipalities must show their support with funding as well. The group is fortunate to have had this support from Sidney, North Saanich and Central Saanich every year.
In the first few years the arts council initiated Artisans (the summer-long arts and crafts show), held an author reading series, gave student scholarships and with any net profits provided grants to such groups as the Sidney Classical Concert Society, Peninsula Players and other cultural groups in the area.
The arts council now has a permanent gallery at Tulista Park offering monthly shows. Each fall, it presents the Sidney Fine Art Show at the Mary Winspear Centre. In support of young people, Arts in the Schools, funds professional artists in theatre, music and literature to bring their expertise to School District 63 students. The arts council also organizes Gallery by the Sea, the summer show on the Beacon Pier and the Spring and Fall Studio Tours.
An exciting new fall event featuring visual and performing arts that the arts council is working on in conjunction with the Celebrations Society is the ArtSea Festival. Linked to the Sidney Fine Art Show, the First Nations and Métis Show and the Fall Studio Tour it is the council’s goal to see the festival become a major arts event in Sidney.
In order to emphasize the importance of the arts in the community a board member is appointed to liaise with various business and cultural groups. This past year the arts council is particularly pleased to have the Town of Sidney value the importance of arts and culture in its community by having an arts council director appointed to its Community Development Commission.
The mandate of this arts council is to encourage public awareness and appreciation of the richness of cultural life on the Peninsula by providing a collective voice for the arts community, and being an advocate, information source and support resource for all forms of artistic expression.
The organization was very pleased to be commended for reaching its goals in this year’s BC Arts Council’s evaluation of all arts councils in BC.
On April 21 at 7 p.m. the arts council will hold its annual general meeting and celebrate its 20th anniversary. An invitation goes to all artists and art supporters to attend the meeting at the Community Arts Centre at Tulista.
There are some upcoming arts events to note: The Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society will hold its 58th annual spring art show at the Mary Winspear Centre April 30, May 1 and 2.
At Tulista Community Arts Centre, Nancy Rotolo and Judy Redfern invite you to their show entitled, Oil and Water from April 19 to May 1.
Small Expression, includes two- and three-dimensional pieces that must not exceed 12 by 12 inches. This show runs until June 4 after Oil and Water.
The call is out to artists for Artisans, the summer-long craft show at Tulista Arts Centre. Forms are available at the Centre.
Dianne Cross is the president of the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula.