The Capitol Theatre on Argyle Street in Port Alberni. NEWS FILE PHOTO

EDITORIAL: Port Alberni arts deserve our support

Portal Players Dramatic Society is poised to perform a popular musical beginning this week…

Portal Players Dramatic Society is poised to perform a popular musical beginning this week. That they were finally able to bring Mamma Mia! to the stage speaks to the high quality of arts and culture that we have here in the Alberni Valley.

The arts are putting the Alberni Valley on British Columbia’s cultural map, whether it’s from hosting Theatre BC’s Mainstage for the second year in a row in 2020, to world-renowned entertainers like Serena Ryder choosing to perform here.

A quick look at any of the most recent Days With the Arts studio tour lists or performances at Char’s Landing show how varied the talents are in our city and region. We are fortunate to have the variety of opportunities that we do to partake in the arts here.

It’s not all standing ovations and roses-after-the-performances for the arts scene, however. All that creativity takes funding, and money for the arts is becoming even more scarce. Provincial BC Arts Council grants aren’t as fulsome as they used to be, people and organizations are turning their financial focus to socio-economic problems like homelessness and addiction, and even items like permissive tax exemptions are being taken away.

Fundraising is always at the forefront of cultural and entertainment activities, whether it’s to pay for amateur licensing to run a musical, for the rights to perform choral music, or to keep up places like the Rollin Art Centre or Char’s Landing.

While problems such as homelessness, crime reduction and addiction must be addressed, the arts are still vital to a community’s vibrancy. As Thomas Merton is credited with saying, ‘art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’

Whether it’s foreign films, musicals, world music or two- and three-dimensional art shows, they all deserve our support.

— Alberni Valley News

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