Parksville plans to be one of at least 55 communities across the province to participate in this year’s provincial Culture Days celebrations.
During the most recent city council meeting on Monday, June 21, council unanimously approved the allocation of up to $50,000, to be jointly awarded to the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) and the Parksville Downtown Business Association (PDBA), as they plan events for the provincial celebration.
The $50,000 will be allocated from the city’s COVID relief grant in order to support community recovery efforts and promote arts and culture within the city. The actual allocated amount will depend upon council’s acceptance of the plan and budget detailing the events.
Jennifer Bate, the executive director for the MAC, and Pattiann Withapea, a local artist and member of the Society of Canadian Artists, have been named by the program director for B.C. Culture Days, Nazanin Shoja, as participating members of the B.C. Culture Days Task Force. They will act as community organizers for the 2021 culture days celebrations in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
Mayor Ed Mayne hopes the celebrations will help stimulate the economy in the downtown core, but confirmed that council does ultimately have the final say in funding approval based on future presentations for the events.
Coun. Doug O’Brien expressed his concern with agreeing to a funding amount maximum before even hearing the details on what the future events would entail.
‘To me, on the surface, it sounds like a wonderful idea… I just don’t know what they’re really planning on doing with that. We’re approving something that I’m a little foggy on what it’s going to contain.”
According to a letter from Shoja, dated May 7, Bate and Withapea have proposed a community public art project, Parksville Outdoor Theatre performances, a short documentary film festival, a juried digital exhibition and competition, and a rotational arts and cultural festival and market.
BC Culture Days will be held from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24 this year, and will celebrate arts, culture and heritage throughout different communities through free interactive events.
Shoja’s letter read that events in the area will be featured on their website, culturedays.ca, for the duration of the celebrations.