by Rachel Stern
The Nanaimo Arts Council is heading out into the community more than usual this year.
With the destruction of its gallery and office space in the Jean Burns building fire in March the organization has had to get creative with its projects and this summer is engaging in the Taking Art to the Streets initiative.
“We lost our physical space so we are moving out into the community,” said Sarah Schmidt, arts council executive director. “We are just looking for opportunities to say we are still here. We don’t have a bricks-and-mortar gallery space, office space, but we are still going out in the community.”
The Nanaimo Arts Council already has several projects that are held in various locations in Nanaimo throughout the year. They include the Festival of Banners: Art Around Town where exhibits are displayed at the E.J. Hughes gallery at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, lobby of the Port Theatre and Wellington Library and the Island Short Fiction Contest awards ceremony.
The council is looking to establish an arts presence during the annual Marine Festival Sail Past parade with a new initiative ArtSea. It was inspired by the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. The event invites people to express their creativity and dress up and create elaborate costumes related to sea creatures. The participants will march in the Marine Festival Sail Past parade held Saturday (July 23) from 10 a.m. to noon in downtown Nanaimo.
“It’s sort of wild and fun and colourful and goofy and is bringing the arts council to an audience that might not know about us,” said Schmidt,
The council is hosting the exhibit Celebrations from Aug. 5-12 at The Network Hub, located at 256 Wallace St. The event is meant to be a celebration of how far the arts council has come since the fire.
The arts council relocated its office operations to the hub after the fire.
On Aug. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. the council is partnering with the Mid-Island Community development cooperative and Art Ensemble Initiative of the Universe during the event Art in the Food Forest. The Nanaimo Community Food Forest is located on Haliburton Street, behind Samaritan House.
Schmidt said people are invited to come down and help paint a community mural at the location.
“The food forest thing is going to be really fun,” she said.
During the Vancouver Island Exhibition the arts council will be in the kids zone and will allow people to make their own buttons.
The council is also currently hosting the Rock, Paper, Scissors exhibit featuring the work of members at Iron Oxide Art Supplies.
For more information go to www.nanaimoartscouncil.ca.