20 June 2009

PG Arts and Culture Downtown

After the success of the Bridges Festival (see program of events here) and upon hearing the many discussions that occurred, it seems to me that a downtown cultural revolution is in order. This turnaround very well may occur because of the initiatives began at the recent Smart Growth symposiums (see smart growth website), a new commitment and energy at the Community Arts Council (website), and a renewed commitment to the arts by UNBC (for example, the BFA Program).

I would urge all arts and culture organizations to lobby the City and District hard to make a greater commitment to arts and culture in the city above and beyond the status quo of doling out money to the six stalwarts of PG culture (as good as they are). In the past, arts initiatives have stalled because of a lack of cohesive and sustained pressure; it's time for organizations to work together and really transform what has been a city that has underachieved in the arts.

Here is one of the conceptualizations that came out of the SGOG charettes:

Just imagine our walkable, inclusive, and sustainable downtown!

05 June 2009

Bridges Festival

Detailed Schedule

---Day 1: Thursday, June 11, 2009

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Keynote Address: Will Garrett-Petts
"Narrative Constructions of the Small City."

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Panel discussion: “Why Support the Arts?”
Sharon Cochran – Performing Arts Center
Wendy Young – Community Arts Council
Frank Peebles – The Citizen
George Harris – Two Rivers Gallery

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Coffee Break

3:30 pm – 4:15 pm: Presentation: “Okal Rel Universe: The Creative Campfire of
Science Fiction”

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm: UNBC First Nations Center story telling and performances;
Paul Michel & friends

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Dinner Break

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Formal Welcome followed by Marcel Gagnon performance

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm: UNBC Bridges Rotunda art exhibition and reception

---Day Two: Friday, June 12, 2009

9:00 am – 10:00 am: Panel Discussion: “Where Do Arts Fit in Public Education?”

Carolyn Holmes – Two Rivers Gallery
Julian Wittaker – College of New Caledonia
Linda Naess – BC Teacher’s Federation
Gerde Blok Wilson – SD #57 Art Advisor

10:00 am – 10:30 am: Coffee Break

10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Panel Discussion: “Feeding Artists in Small Cities”

Julie Fowler – Island Mountain Arts, Wells, BC
Betty Kovacic – CNC Visual Arts and Private Instructor
Judy Russell – Dance Studio Owner and Instructor
Elizabeth Aman Hume - Prince George Symphony Orchestra

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch Break

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Panel Discussion: “Archiving Northern BC Archives and Digital
Ramona Rose – UNBC Archives
Marc Saunders – Prince George Public Library
Bob Campbell – The Exploration Place

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Panel Discussion: “Organizing Culture, Arts and Community”

Joan Chess – River’s Day Festival
Jo Beattie – Coldsnap Festival
Jennifer Ferries – Millar Addition Citizen’s Coalition
Jovanka Djordjevich – Community Garden, film festivals, etc.

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm: Coffee Break
3:30 pm – 5:00pm: Panel Discussion: “Culture in the Small City--Other Views”

Jake Kennedy – UBC Okanagan
Blanca Schorcht – UNBC Quesnel
Greg Lainsbury - Northern Lights College, Fort St. John
Sheila Peters

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Dinner Break

Location Change: Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Poetry Reading – “The Poetry Train –Return Trip”
Jake Kennedy
Ken Belford
Betsy Trumpeter
Sheila Peters
Mary MacDonald
Greg Lainsbury
Si Transken

Location Change: Books and Co.
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm: Local singers and songwriter evening hosted by Jeremy Stewart

--Day 3 - Saturday, June 13

UNBC Lecture Theatre 7-150: 10:00 am – 3:30pm
Prince George Public Library Sponsored Local Author’s Marathon
10:00-10:30 John Harris
10:30-11:00 Rob Bryce
11:00-11:30 Keith Billington
11:30-12:00 Linda Williams
12:00-12:30 Contributors to ORU anthologies
12:30-1:00 Vivien Lougheed
1:00-1:30 Nowell Senior
1:30-2:00 Mike Nash
2:00-2:30 Mark Shegelski
2:30-3:00 Jeremy Stewart
3:00-3:30 Marilyn Wheeler
3:30-4:00 Currently open

9:00 am – 10:00 am: Presentation: “How Does Local Government Fit Into the Arts?”
Doug Hofestede – City of Prince George
Rene McClosky – Regional District of Prince George

10:00 am – 10:30 am: Coffee Break

10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Panel Discussion: “Sense of Place: Location and Cultural
Jeremy Stewart
Shana Schwentner
Andreas Hahn
Rob Budde

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch Break
Cultural Compass Fashion Show

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Panel Discussion: “Finding Health, Wellness and Spirituality
Within the Arts”

Greg Beattie – UNBC Wellness Center
Moses Kostomo

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Presentation: “Voices and Visions: Art as an Alternative Voice
for Subaltern Women”
Si Transken & Dahne Harding

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Coffee Break

3:30 pm – 5:00pm: Performance: Street Spirits Theatre Company

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Closing event followed by dinner break

Location Change: Two Rivers Art Gallery
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Artist’s talk: Claire Kujundzic; reception and after party

04 June 2009


Days: June 11-13, 2009
Place: UNBC Bentley Center


* Prince George Regional Library sponsored Author’s Marathon (Saturday)
* Community arts & cultural information and displays, arts, crafts and more.
* Art exhibits – UNBC Bridges Rotunda; UNBC and CNC student show and sale;
AWAC art exhibition
* Wellness Center ‘Stress Busters’ art activities
* The Exploration Place slideshow
* Prince George Railway and Train Museum model railway bridge display


* Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum: (6:00 pm – 7:30) pm
Poetry reading – “The Poetry Train – Return Trip” Rob Budde and Co.
*Books and Co. – local singer songwriter evening: (8:00pm – 9:30pm)

*Prince George Community Arts Council Studio Crawl: (2:00pm – 5:00pm)
*Two Rivers Gallery – artist’s talk and reception (7:00pm – 9:00pm)


Thursday June 11th : UNBC Bentley Center – program begins at 1:00 pm with keynote address, panel discussion, Okal Rel Universe presentation, UNBC First Nations Center music and story-telling. Official welcome. Performance by Marcel Gagnon at 6:00 pm. Bridges Art Exhibit opening and reception at 7:00pm in the UNBC Rotunda Gallery.

Friday June 12th: UNBC Bentley Center - program begins 9:00 am with panel discussions continuing throughout the day. Poetry event at the Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum at (6:00 – 7:30 pm). Local singer and songwriter evening at Books and Company from (8:00 pm – 9:30 pm).

Saturday, June 13th: UNBC Bentley Center - program begins at 9:00 am. Panel discussions, research presentation, Street Spirits Theatre performance. Program closing 5:00 pm. Prince George Public Library sponsored UNBC Local Author’s Marathon:
(10:00am-3:30pm). Community Arts Council Studio Crawl: (2:00 pm – 5:00 pm). Two Rivers Gallery: artist’s talk and reception: (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm)

03 June 2009

Coming to PG in August: DE COMP

by Stephen Collis & Jordan Scott

DE COMP is a book to be collaboratively written by Stephen Collis and Jordan Scott. It will include a variety of texts, including lyric poetry and prose narratives, that explore issues of locality, ecology, and the continuing impact of human beings on the environment. The project will unfold in two main stages. First, in the Summer of 2009, the authors will travel to five distinct BC ecosystems and communities: the coastal rainforest (on Vancouver Island’s west coast), the Fraser River Delta/Vancouver, the Carribou/Chilcotin, the Rocky Mountains, and the North. In each ecosystem a copy of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species will be placed in an outdoor location, to be left there for one year. Poetry and prose narratives about the region and the authors’ practice will be composed, and readings will be given in each area (ideally, Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, Nelson, and Prince George). The authors will then return to the same sites one year later (Summer 2010), collect the books left exposed in the local ecosystems, compose new work (in part based upon what has happened, physically, to the exposed texts), and once again give readings based on the project. DE COMP itself will then be assembled using the poetry and prose narratives composed on the two trips, and written in response to Darwin’s book and the physical record of what has happened to the books left exposed around the province.

We have chosen to use Darwin’s Origin for several reasons. The book remains one of the most influential interventions in our understanding of the “natural” world and our place in it. Conveniently, 2009 also happens to be the 150th anniversary of its publication. At the core of Origin is the issue of “variation”: how does variation (evolutionary difference) between and within species occur? In our project we will submit Darwin’s book itself to the variations of climate and ecosystem within British Columbia. We will thus bring the “variations upon a theme” typical of the arts into dialogue with the “variations” tracked by biologists and naturalists in the physical environment.

Our intention is thus to use the book, quite literally, as a “touchstone” for writing poetry on ecological issues. What is often now referred to as “ecopoetry” is based on the notion “that poetry derives from the living earth as surely as our human bodies and minds do” and “that poetry itself can manifest the intricate, adaptive, and evolving balance of an ecosystem” (Ecopoetry ix). The “decomposition” of Darwin’s text is an opportunity to reflect poetically upon the ecological degradation of our contemporary environments. “Decomposition” becomes a poetics and writing strategy—a mode of making new texts out of the decomposing bodies of other texts. We decompose, in order to compose our return to the material word and world. Our taking Darwin’s book into “nature” is a way of reversing the usual flow of ecopoetry, in which “nature” is brought into text via human reflection and description. By doing so we hope to produce work which moves beyond the typical dualisms that keep the processes of the human degradation of the environment going.