Sidney councillor Barbara Fallot is probably right: arts endeavours on the Saanich Peninsula are probably under-appreciated.
So, how does a community go about adequately appreciating the arts?
First and foremost is awareness. From the activities at the cultural hub that is the Mary Winspear Centre, to the small galleries and home-based artists, there are plenty of people singing, dancing, painting and performing.
Yet, apart from the arts-centric circles they move in, how do the rest of us learn about shows, displays and other arts events in our communities?
The PNR is a good source. We tap into those circles to find some of the up-and-coming artists or established ones who have been honing their craft for years. We’re also a great source of community listings and show announcements.
But we’re not alone.
The Sidney Events Advisory Group, a branch of the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society, has been promoting local cultural events and co-ordinating coverage to ensure a broader audience is aware of what Sidney — and to some degree the Saanich Peninsula — has to offer. By most accounts, they are doing a bang-up job and 2017 looks to be another year of growth for the SEAG.
Of course, these days, information about what’s on at the local venues is just a click away.
In that regard then, there should be few barriers to anyone learning about local arts events and the people behind them. From that base, which should always be evolving and growing, there’s the possibility of increasing bums in the seats at arts events. And that, potentially, can help the organizations that run them a little less dependant upon public grants.
That would be an ideal situation.
Right now, however, many groups need that extra boost in seed money or ongoing support to ensure our communities are vibrant and interesting. The Town of Sidney certainly does its part in supporting local arts — as do Central and North Saanich.
Now it’s up to us as patrons of the arts to enjoy what’s to offer on local stages.