Even when our doors close, #culturedoesntstop

Times are difficult, but the world needs even more art, literature and culture to continue to hope, to understand each other, and to survive. This is what motivates us to do everything we can to take care of artists, and the people around them, who keep the flame burning.

Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts​

The critical value of Arts, Culture & Heritage are shining brilliantly and showing their power to provide resilience, hope, and joy. The Arts remind us that we are all connected during these trying times. As we continue to physically distance and isolate from one another, it’s the Arts that are still bringing us together.

Working together, Comox Valley Arts, Courtenay & District Museum, The Sid Williams Theatre and Comox Valley Art Gallery are making a plan in concert with the City of Courtenay to keep cultural activities going.

“COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing has had a significant impact on everyone, including those in the arts sector. Arts organizations right away responded to the orders, direction and recommendations from the provincial health officer, showing great leadership by cancelling events, performances and festivals to protect people’s health. We understand this has had a significant impact on artists, their families and arts organizations.

Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture

The Comox Valley’s cultural service providers have had to make difficult decisions to close facilities, cancel eventsand implement alternate & remote work plans following recommendations of public health authorities.  This decision, to put people first, reflects a commitment to employee health and well-being, as well as a commitment to the public. It is the collective intent of these organizations to proactively sustain services as much as possible while taking physical distancing measures available and appropriate to each of the organization’s day-to-day activities.

All four organizations are hard at work behind the scenes ensuring that industry professionals are informed, have support, and can build resources to continue offering their creativity to the community.

Our goal, during these challenging times is to listen to your concerns, and to work with other groups within our creative community to develop a robust and essential source of information, inspiration and education as we continue to chart a path forward. We encourage all of you all to connect with each other and with the arts. The resilience of the artistic community and the compassion of our residents will be the base we build upon, and the cornerstone of our recovery.

Don Ferguson, President  Comox Valley Arts

Comox Valley Arts will be collaborating with our partners, using available space to create livestream music, dance, spoken word and theatre projects in a safe and physically distant manner. Artists & Performers are encouraged to contact CV/A at [email protected] for other support and project opportunities. CV/A has multiple programs accessible online through the website comoxvalleyarts.com and centralislandartsguide.ca

Sid Williams Theatre is keeping core staff employed with big maintenance projects to ensure the facility is in the best possible shape for re-engaging with the community. There are hidden benefits to this situation where there is a lot more time than usual to get some things done. Administrators and technical staff alike are working hard to connect with ticketholders and presenters to reshape the 2020-2021 season. Sign up for announcements at sidwilliamstheatre.com.

Comox Valley Art Gallery is working hard at digitizing exhibits and has pivoted their popular and successful Youth Media Project to an online format. Applications are currently being accepted for the summer session – learn more at comoxvalleyartgallery.com

Courtenay & District Museum is rolling out substantial education programming to support home learning in creative and accessible formats. Follow them on facebook and access program through their website at courtenaymuseum.ca

 

Together, these organizations are reaching out to other arts groups and individual artists to engage, support and create new opportunities and deliver programming for the community at large.

There are many things happening, despite the “closure” of the world. And in this new paradigm of digital engagement and physically distant connection, it’s the Arts & Culture sector that will bring us all together.

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photo credit to Alun Macanulty

#culturedoesntstop began with museums in Europe and was quickly picked up here in Canada. You can see the incredible array of virtual events available in BC by checking cultureonline.ca