DIANNE CROSS: Year gone by a healthy one for Saanich Peninsula arts

2011 marked another year of success and growth in the Saanich Peninsula arts community

This year, 2011, marked another year of success and growth in our arts community. It is good to hear the comment, “There are so many interesting things to do in Sidney that we find we go less and less into the city for our entertainment.”

The Mary Winspear Centre presented shows that appeal to a wide range of tastes. Guest artists included Richard Margison, Alyssa Reid, Liona Boyd, Shania Twin, plus groups such as the Powder Blues Band, Peninsula Singers and the Welsh Men’s Choir, Palm Court Orchestra and dramatic performances by Peninsula Players and the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Theatre manager Philip Sutton reports that they have had a record number of 27 sell outs during 2011.

The Community Arts Centre at Tulista Park continues to embellish Sidney’s stunning seaside walk with interesting visual art shows. Last spring was Small Expressions and a display of work by Parkland secondary school art students.

The Artisans Gift Gallery of local arts and crafts maintained its popularity through the summer months and for the Christmas season. And in the fall, the Peninsula Arts Council was proud to sponsor the First Nations and Métis Show which brought in more than 3,000 visitors and many compliments. The arts council also sponsors Gallery by the Sea, the summer exhibition on the Beacon Pier fish market.

However, the highlight of the year for visual artists was the Sidney Fine Art Show held during October. That show was enjoyed by more than 6,000 visitors. Now expanding on its success, the ArtSea Festival begins with the art show and ends with the fall studio tour. The days between are full with musical and literary events.

The Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society continues to offer classes, monthly meetings and a spring art show. The Sidney Museum also adds to the arts life by not only preserving our heritage but also featuring monthly displays that focus on various themes.

It is often said that arts and culture make for a healthy community. I think our community is showing very good health.

The best of the season to everyone.

Dianne Cross is the past president of the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula.

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