Creative Community

Last week was the 3rd annual Penticton and District Art Awards which I was happy to attend and speak at. I started off by thanking the Arts Council for presenting the awards and celebrating our creative community achievements.
I met a Kelowna couple who shared a story about their friends that own a gallery in Vancouver and came up for a visit. Their company spent the majority of the weekend in Penticton because quote “Penticton’s art scene is really happening…Penticton’s got it going on!” Hearing that an art gallery owner preferred Penticton over Kelowna not only made me smile, but I felt a great sense of civic pride. The art awards had 200 people attending which was symbolic to the creative community finally starting to find their rhythm and gain momentum.

Art is so very subjective and its beauty is in the eye or ear of the beholder. We often are our own worst enemy. We say “I will never paint or sculpt something that would warrant a gallery showing in New York or Paris. I will never create some music worthy of a Grammy, a film worthy of an Oscar. I will never sing, dance, or act on Broadway. I will never have my photograph on the front cover of a magazine.” Our negativity becomes an inhibitor so we don’t explore or leverage our creative side. We forget that many of the famous artists started off making mistakes and took time to perfect their craft. As a child; while learning to walk we fell down over 100 times, do you think we stopped and said ‘perhaps this walking thing isn’t for me’? We often give up too early and are too worried about what others will think or say.

I hope the art awards (and this blog) are an inspiration for those thinking about exploring their creative side. The Shatford Center and Lier House both offer courses and training for almost every aspect of the arts. There is an online community to help instruct some common techniques, but the biggest learning tool will come from a community creative collaboration. It is up to the local creative arts community to come together and mentor up and coming artists. If the Arts are to truly flourish then we need to be more collaborative, supportive, and celebratory of our local creative community. 
Hopefully some people who have thought about learning a creative skill will actually try their hand at some artistic expressions. It is never too late to try and find your passion.

For the nominees it was a special night as some got to perform, and others experienced the energy of the evening. I told the nominees that they should feel proud; because for their name to be listed their art form would have had to trigger an emotional response from someone. As an artist your validation should be that someone was moved or impacted by what you created. Hopefully the evening was inspiring for those nominees that didn’t win to continue perfecting their craft.
For the winners I say congratulations. The award should validate that you have talent and should give you the confidence to take your art form to the next level…whatever that might be. We are still looking for some talented creativity evangelists to transform Penticton into a vibrant arts and cultural hub…will this be your year?