Big changes come to Revelstoke cultural scene leadership

Miriam Manley promoted to run the Revelstoke Arts Council, while Victoria Strange takes over the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre

Left: Miriam Manley (right) is the new executive director of the Revelstoke Arts Council and Sarah Dart (left) is the program assistant.; Right: Victoria Strange is the new executive director of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre.

Left: Miriam Manley (right) is the new executive director of the Revelstoke Arts Council and Sarah Dart (left) is the program assistant.; Right: Victoria Strange is the new executive director of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre.

Collaborating with various community groups is something Victoria Strange, the new executive director of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre is looking forward to. So it comes as no surprise that a collaborative project is in the works between the Revelstoke Visual Art Centre and the Revelstoke Arts Council, which is also undergoing some changes as theatre manager Miriam Manley prepares to take over from executive director Gary Pendergast, who retires in March.

The collaboration will see the two organizations working together to put on an arts festival in the fall. Titled Luna: Art Discovered, the festival will commission 25 artists (20 local and 5 non-local) to create site-specific, innovative, engaging work that will premiere during the last week of September and run for a total of three weeks.

We talked to the new leaders of the Revelstoke arts scene to find out what they have planned.

Miriam Manley takes over arts council

While Manley isn’t a new face in Revelstoke (she has been the manager of the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre for the past five years), she said there will be some changes to the Arts Council when she becomes executive director.

“With Gary retiring at end of March, we as an organization had an opportunity to rethink the structure of the arts council a little bit,” said Manley. “We decided instead of the current model of an executive director and a theatre manager […] we could restructure and transition to a new model.”

The new model will put Manley in charge of the RAC. Her role will be overseeing the operation of the theatre as well as other programs organized by the arts council like the Summer Street Festival.

To help out, Sarah Dart was hired as a program assistant to focus on daily operations and provide administrative assistance on various programs.

While there are planned changes, Manley said under Pendergast’s leadership the arts council has been incredibly successful, including seeing the concert series go from six shows into a performance series with double the amount of shows.

“I really want to honour his leadership and also just say the arts council board has been really supportive throughout this whole period of transition,” said Manley.

Victoria Strange runs the art gallery

Strange said she had never even heard of Revelstoke when her partner suggested they move here.

Originally from Ontario, Strange had been living in Halifax for the past 20 years. In Halifax she worked for a number of galleries before opening up her own commercial gallery with a business partner 10 years ago.

“My husband works in television and film,” she said. “At the time in Nova Scotia there was a film tax credit that was being taken away, so the film industry was really dying in Halifax. I had sold my shares in the business, so we were kind of in this limbo. We thought what can we do, maybe this is the time to move out of Nova Scotia.”

Strange’s husband always wanted to live in a mountain town, and it was after a visit to Revelstoke that he returned to Nova Scotia and said he had been to “the most amazing place. It’s called Revelstoke!”

“He convinced me to come out for five days and I loved it,” she said. “I thought I could move here. We bought a house. Neither of us had employment. It was a huge leap in the dark, because we have two kids as well.

“But, I always think if you follow your passion you always land on your feet. So far it’s worked out.”

Strange found the perfect fit for her artistic background taking over for Jackie Pendergast as executive director of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre.

“When I came here it was this perfect fit that Jackie was retiring and I had this huge background in art,” said Strange, who also has an art education degree. “The fit here was almost perfect to be honest, because the arts centre has this whole education component to it where we offer classes and workshops. And then it has the whole gallery side. So having a background in both those things was kind of nice.”

Even before being hired Strange began volunteering at the gallery. She said she was amazed at the reception she got from Pendergast.

“I remember thinking just what a cool place this is, what incredible potential. To have a facility like this in such a small town is really remarkable. Even in larger centres you wouldn’t get a public gallery, plus studios, plus a wood shop, plus a whole potters’ guild, plus education classes. To have that in a one stop shop is phenomenal,” said Strange.

Moving forward, Strange says she knows she has big shoes to fill to replace Pendergast.

“I know Jackie in the last 10 years really brought this place to a great spot in its life,” said Strange. “She got the studio’s going and the education programs going. She has worked really hard to make this a great meeting place. I think from my standpoint there’s always different things you can do to get other people in the community engaged in the arts.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File
Court awards $150K to car crash victim near Revelstoke

The incident occurred in 2015 during a snowstorm on Highway 1

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Kentucky has more bourbon than people

Your morning start for Thursday, May 6, 2021

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Grizzly bear. (File)
Malakwa man bitten by grizzly bear on dog walk

The man and dogs were not seriously injured

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A fifth wheel fire came dangerously close to a Lake Country home Wednesday afternoon. (Lake Country Fire Department photo)
RCMP, neighbours save Okanagan house from fire

Fifth wheel up in flames next to home

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

(File)
With revenge porn on the rise in 2021, B.C. seeks feedback for new legislation

New legislation could help victims take down images and receive compensation

Some of the funding will provide more EV charging stations, such as this one at Rogers Pass. Kootenay Rockies Tourism photo.
StrongerBC provides funding for tourism projects in Kootenay Rockies region

A number of initiatives to enhance tourism are underway across the Kootenay Rockies

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks votes down letter to support Penticton in homeless shelter battle

Grand Forks city coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

Most Read