The Revelstoke Arts Council met for its Annual General Meeting on June 19 at McGregor’s at the Powder Springs Inn – one of two brand-new theatrical venues in Revelstoke. Either new venue would be enough to make the year notable, but they weren’t the only new things creating a buzz in the arts sector. As we’ll hear later, the Revelstoke Cultural Strategy update is fresh off the press.
Like all AGM’s it was a changing of the guard. Departing members included Cathy Granstrom, who was thanked for her six years of work with the council, including pioneering the Summer Street Festival when she took it on as a volunteer.
New RAC board members are Emily Beaumont and Emma Kirkland. Returning board members are president Carol Palladino, Tina Lindegaard, Carmen Segger, John Devitt, Meghann Hutton, Amy Flexman, Neills Kristensen and Erin Johnston.
RAC president Carol Palladino said the council was looking forward to the future of the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre. “We’re excited to be working with School District 19 on the management plan for the new Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre,” she said. “We have a ways to go, but I think there’s a shared vision of making it truly a community cultural service. I think we’re getting there. It’s early days and I’m sure there’ll be some growing pains.”
Executive Director Garry Pendergast echoed Palladino’s enthusiasm, telling the Times Review in a later interview that negotiations with the school district over the management plan had seen a “complete sea change.”
“It really has become positive. It’s going to be the best in the region without a doubt,” he added.
Pendergast said details of the 2012/13 Concert Series shows in the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre are being finalized. Did you know that the series is traditionally a money-loser for the council? They put it on for the community’s benefit. This year, they’ve scheduled folk singer and songwriter James Keelaghan on Oct. 30, the Kelowna Ballet on Nov. 15, (tentatively) CBC Radio’s Christmas Carol sometime in December, and Rita Chiarelli at a to-be-determined date in March. Comedian and one-man variety show Robert Post is pencilled in for April.
Also new this year is a newly-revised Revelstoke Arts Council website as well as a Revelstoke Spirit Festival website.
Their full compliment of annual events and festivals is coming back, including the Concert Series, Summer Street Festival, Revelstoke Spirit Festival and the Handmade Parade.
Pendergast notes the RAC has attracted the risqué sequins, glamour and sass of the Cheescake Burlesque Revue for the Revelstoke Spirit Fest in 2013.
Revelstoke Cultural Strategy
The Revelstoke Cultural Strategy entitled ‘Revving Up’ is an update of an existing plan from 2006. It maps out Revelstoke’s cultural strategy for the next decade. It was prepared by consultants GDH Solutions and Creative Outsources who worked with the City of Revelstoke’s Parks, Recreation and Culture department and the Revelstoke Arts Council on the plan. It is now basically done, but will need to be integrated with other city documents, starting with an appointment with Revelstoke city council on June 26.
The strategy includes a push to have the municipality more involved in supporting arts initiatives, amongst many other directions.
Citing popular contemporary theories that suggest the cultural life of a municipality is a key economic driver and attractant of other business and economic activity, the report lays out a case for increased municipal support for the arts sector. It also notes internet-based information sharing enables new kinds of cultural life not possible before, expanding possibilities even more.
The visioning portion of the strategy focuses on preserving and enhancing all aspects of cultural life in Revelstoke, with a particular focus on creating new partnerships and collaboration at all levels.
The strategy also has an eye on the soon-to-be-empty Mountain View Elementary School, wondering if it could liberate the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre from the old RCMP detachment cells.
Both Mountain View and Mt. Begbie Elementary have been eyed as new culture centres since they were scheduled to close, but the plan doesn’t elaborate much on any proposals, taking a wait-and-see view.
The report finishes with 16 recommendations. Some highlights include:
– Ensuring the new theatre serves the needs of the community as well as the school district
– Engaging the entire local arts and culture community, emphasizing new members from youth-oriented culture and senior decision-makers from government
– Cross-promoting arts and culture events through the Revelstoke Accommodation Association and the Chamber of Commerce to attract more visitors
– Encourage the City of Revelstoke to take on a greater role in supporting the arts
– Continue to acquire and install public art
– Target Revelstoke residents not currently involved in arts and culture through improved communication
– Evolve a cultural tourism marketing program