City celebrating B.C. Culture Days this weekend

B.C. Culture Days is an annual provincewide initiative, and this weekend, its time has come for 2016.

Communities all over the British Columbia map get federal and provincial government support for events that will enliven and enhance their local area. It happens in other provinces as well, but the official sites specifically in northern B.C. include Smithers, Fort Nelson, Dawson Creek, Bouchie Lake, Quesnel, Williams Lake and of course the Prince George area.

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"Arts and culture contribute to a positive quality of life and well-being and are at the heart of the creative economy, one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the world," said Peter Fassbender, a former Prince George resident now the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

"B.C. Culture Days is a time for all British Columbians to celebrate the creativity and vibrancy found in every community throughout our province."

Nearly 20 official B.C. Culture Days activities are slated for Prince George alone. They operate today, Saturday and Sunday at a variety of places.

One such activity takes place in one location but involves two cultural organizations. Blast To The Past takes viewers on a trip back in time to experience the life of a South Fort George student in a historic schoolhouse at The Exploration Place. Special guests from the Historic Huble Homestead will also be on-site in the museum's atrium for additional heritage engagement, and tours are also available.

The Two Rivers Gallery has a speed tour on offer on Friday during the lunch period for anyone wanting a swift, guided whirl through their latest exhibitions.

Those exhibitions can be seen for free all weekend long for anyone on self-guided visits.

The gallery is also home to an event called Open Rehearsal With The PG Ukes on Friday from 2:30-4:45 p.m., and an event called Talented When Tipsy which brings together glasses of wine with painting time (sessions at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.).

If you're at the gallery at 7:30 tonight, you can also hear Meghan Hunter-Gauthier of the curatorial staff do an hour-long discussion explaining how the enormous exhibits on display get "From Crate To Wall."

On Saturday, Two Rivers is also home to multiple events for B.C. Culture Days. Tours and special discussions begin at 10 a.m., there is a MakerLab Open Make from 1-4 p.m., and the same holds true for Sunday with the addition that day of a family art free-for-all from 1-4 p.m.

The Prince George Conservatory of Music has an open invitation to meet the city's latest professional musician on Saturday.

"The Conservatory is proud to introduce French cellist Flora Camuzet," said a statement issued by the music school.

"The newest addition to our faculty, Flora has been performing and teaching in Japan and Europe for many years and is a stellar addition to the Prince George music scene. We invite cellists of all levels, and those who are just interested, to join us for an afternoon of music sharing at 3555 5th Ave. (St. Andrew's United Church), from 3-5 p.m."

Another Sunday event is Music & Tea from 3-5 p.m. at St. Andrew's during which the conservatory's staff will have a public performance and chats about chamber music in a casual atmosphere.

Tours of the school and visits with the musicians and other staff will also be welcome.

All of these events and activities are free or heavily discounted.

"B.C. Culture Days was conceived in response to the growing recognition that a vibrant arts and cultural sector contributes directly to a healthy and economically diverse society," said a statement from the national organizing agency for Culture Days.

"Individual artists, cultural groups, organizations, municipalities, and festivals offer free, participatory, and interactive arts and cultural activities during the Culture Days weekend each year. Culture Days represents the largest-ever collective public participation campaign undertaken by the arts and cultural community in Canada."

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