Parksville council says no to reviving BC Culture Days fall event

Jennifer Bate, executive director of the McMillan Arts Centre and artist Pattiann Withapea presented plans and a budget for local BC Culture Days events to council on July 19. || Image is a screenshot from council's regular meeting livestream.
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Parksville council has decided it will not revive discussions about holding BC Culture Days events in the city this fall.

Council heard a presentation at its July 19 meeting from local organizers, describing the events and budgets planned for local celebrations.

Jennifer Bate, executive director of the McMillan Arts Centre and artist Pattiann Withapea made the request to present after council voted to defer discussions until the spring because of time constraints and busy city staff. 

A motion by Coun. Mark Chandler to bring back the conversation was not seconded.

“I think it’s needed in the city right now. I think it’s going to revitalize things a bit,” he said.

Bate and Withapea had five events planned between late August and October, including a short documentary film festival; a juried digital art exhibition and competition; a community art festival; a community art project to support breast cancer awareness and fundraise and a collaborative art event known as the ‘exquisite corpse,’ which would have involved 30 artists.

“They each take part in doing a collaborative piece blind, in that they don’t see what the artist before them has put onto the canvas and the results can be really visually exciting,” Withapea said.

The combined budget for the events would have been $31,215, according to Bate.

BC Culture Days is part of the national Culture Days organization, which puts on free arts and culture events every year from mid-September to mid-October.

In June, council approved providing up to $50,000 to the MAC and the Parksville Downtown Business Association (PDBA) to plan local events during BC Culture Days. The funds would have come from the city’s COVID relief grant.

The PBDA’s president later informed the mayor that the downtown merchants are too busy to help plan an event this year. In the spring, council will discuss planning an event.

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