After emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port Alberni arts community is looking towards the future.
Alberni Art Rave, the Community Arts Council and Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot are partnering on a “Next Gen Arts” event on Wednesday, Aug. 31 that will start a new conversation about the direction of the local arts sector.
Jillian Mayne of Alberni Art Rave says the event will be a way to bring the community together.
“It’s a bit of a party, but also a conversation,” she said.
Next Gen Arts will take place free of charge at the Alberni Valley Museum from 7-9 p.m. and will feature live music, local refreshments and “unexpected activities” facilitated by Theresa Kingston and designed to open minds and voices about the state of the arts in the Alberni Valley.
The event will take place alongside the current exhibit at the museum, “Emergence: New Works, New Beginnings.” Throughout the “Emergence” exhibit, Art Rave has hosted a few talks and workshops to keep traffic up. This will be the final event before the exhibit closes on Sept. 3.
“It’s going to be a great end to the show,” said Mayne. “And it will look at where do we go from here, as an arts community.”
Kingston will facilitate the event in a “conversation café” model that will allow the arts community and its supporters to come up with some ideas about the future of the arts in the Alberni Valley through collaborative art projects and activities.
“We’re in a post-COVID, post-lockdown world now,” said Mayne. “It’s been pretty hard on non-profits, and also for the museum. We thought having a show would be a great way of exploring what comes next.”
The event is open to all ages and arts disciplines—from painters to poets, from actors to musicians, from designers, to videographers. Supporters of the arts are also welcome. It will be a family-friendly event, says Mayne.
Mayne hopes the event will accomplish three things—reuniting the arts community, initiating conversation about the future of the arts in the Alberni Valley and educating people about the arts in Port Alberni.
“There are a lot of professional artists in Port Alberni that people don’t know about,” said Mayne.
Although the “Emergence” art exhibit will be ending soon, Next Gen Arts will be the first in an ongoing series of conversation cafés that will allow bi-weekly connection and conversation about arts in the Valley.
The next session, scheduled for Sept. 22, will be a creative conversation and dialogue session on the arts sector and what can be done to increase community participation and support. The final session will take place in October and will be an artist panel on the good, the bad and the ugly of being an artist in the Alberni Valley.