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Alberni arts community starts conversation

Next conversation event will take place Thursday, Sept. 22 at Steampunk Café
Local musician Brian Bentley entertained the guests at the museum on Aug. 31. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)



An event at the Alberni Valley Museum last week explored the future of the arts community in Port Alberni.

Facilitator Theresa Kingston led visitors at the museum on Wednesday, Aug. 31 in a series of activities designed to start conversation about art in Port Alberni.

Robert Gunn, the treasurer of Art Rave, said the event—titled Next Gen Arts—sought to bring together the full range of artistic and creative individuals and organizations in the Alberni Valley.

“Both amateur and professional,” he added. “To explore successes, best thinking, common issues, possibility of shared efforts. It is anticipated that the conversations will lead to topics for more formal events.”

Next Gen Arts also featured music from local musician Brian Bentley, local refreshments and free draws. Tom and Judy Schmidt won a gift basket, Anna Ayres won a children’s package and Marilyn McPherson won a Roy Vickers banner (painted in 1992).

“People talk about things opening up after COVID and getting back to ‘normal,’” said Kingston last Wednesday. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no going back to the way things were before COVID. We are living in a new world where COVID has changed the way we live.”

Some upcoming conversation café sessions are an opportunity to engage in creative conversations and learning events to shape a new normal for arts and culture in the community, she added.

“We have the ability to reinvent, reform and reimagine our own new normal, and we invite you to join us,” said Kingston.

There are six conversation cafés scheduled for Port Alberni. The first of these events, titled The Outer Limits of the Artscape, will take place on Thursday, Sept. 22 from 7-9 p.m. at Steampunk Café.

Stephen Mann speaks about his art at the Next Gen Arts event in Port Alberni. He is a painter here in the Alberni Valley with Red Heron Creations. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Theresa Kingston, far left, leads team writing at the Next Gen Arts event on Aug. 31. Right from Kingston are Scarlet Danieluk, Jill Mayne and Claudia Romaniuk. (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)