Energized board is celebrating the past, looking to future

The founders looked into the future and saw the arts potential of the Comox Valley.

Now, half a century later, the Valley is famed for its artistic backbone, and Comox Valley Arts (the region’s Community Arts Council) is celebrating. The group is marking its 50-year anniversary in a big way April 1, starting with a youth showcase and moving into a live art and visual art gala and dance party at the Florence Filberg Centre.

Caresse Nadeau – Performance Artist

Pantuso Dance Performance Works presents a few pieces

“We’re really excited to present this event,” says Anna Rambow, president of the CV Arts board. “This milestone recognizes the efforts of all the board members, volunteers, and artists who have contributed so much to the arts here over the years, and to bring attention to the many projects currently underway. “

It’s going to be a day and night affair.  Young people will take the stage at The Union Street Grotto restaurant 2-5 p.m. for the Youth Music Showcase.” This is the next generation of performers,” said Rambow. “Come out to experience and support their lively talent.”  The showcase is entry by donation and all are welcome.

Then on the evening of April 1st, CV Arts presents its Gala and an ‘After Party’ at the Filberg.  Dubbed Building the HeART of Community- 50 Years in the Making, the event is a celebration of the arts, encapsulating Comox Valley Arts’ commitment to animate, inform and celebrate the Comox Valley as an arts-producing centre.

The evening begins with a blessing of the floor and a sharing of songs and dances by the Kumugwe Dance Group. The Courtenay Little Theatre will be performing a short radio play and Pantuso Dance Performance Works is featuring some of their brightest performers. These iconic local groups, along with CYMC instructors, the Just in Time Choirs, Three-Legged Dog Productions, Arcana Dea Dance, and more will present an incredibly diverse variety show. “Our vibrant performance arts community is coming together for this unique event. These are going to be powerhouse performances,” says board member Wendy Nixon Stothert.

New Comox Valley Poet Laureate, Natalie Nickerson

It will also be the first official event for newly chosen Comox Valley Poet Laureate, Natalie Nickerson, as outgoing Poet Laureate Kevin Flesher passes the title on.  Nickerson won the hearts and minds of the Poet Laureate judges in the WordUp2 competition last week through an open round and then a finals round. The Poet Laureate position is a project of CV Arts.

In addition to the performances by the outgoing and incoming Poet Laureates, gala guests will enjoy music by the Sharp Seven Jazz Combo and roving performance art by Caresse Nadeau.

Appetizers and sweet treats by As You Like It Products and Catering will be on offer, as will drinks, door prizes and the silent auction of original gumboots painted by local artists, all to help CV Arts kick off the next 50 years.

Visual art is represented through One Night Stand: A retrospective showcasing Comox Valley Arts Council Artist Members; encompassing both an Onsite Exhibition of 2D multimedia work and a Digital Exhibit of original art.

“Our 50th anniversary is as much about celebrating the past as it is looking towards the future,” said Rambow. “We acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Arts Council volunteers who have contributed towards building a strong and vibrant arts community here in the Valley.

“We also look forward to meeting new faces, people who might be curious about the work of the Council. All are invited to join us.”

After the formal part of the evening wraps up about 10 p.m., the floor will be cleared for an ‘After Party’ with well-known local dance-inducers DJ Skian and Mister Luke, spinning tunes until midnight.

Tickets are available at Blue Heron Books (Comox), Second Page Books (Courtenay), Rare Bird Books (Cumberland) or online at www.comoxvalleyarts.com.

“We’re very appreciative of our sponsors,” noted Rambow.  The list includes our Title Sponsor Peninsula Co-op, along with the Comox Valley Community Foundation and the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, the BC Arts Council, and the Province of B.C., along with media sponsors What’s On Digest, Sure Copy and the Comox Valley Record.