Fall season rich with cultural offerings

Recently I started working on an archive project, sorting through and organizing the records, photo albums and news clippings of the Community Arts Council, dating back to its founding in 1968.

One of the historical threads that stands out (besides an ongoing, 50-year storyline about the need to move the arts council downtown) is how our arts and cultural scene has evolved from a purely amateur level to the current offerings of both professional and amateur talent - an authentic mix for a city of this size - that includes visual arts, music, drama, Indigenous arts, artisan works, and more.

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So if you are interested in adding local arts and culture events to your to-do list this year, here are my event picks for the next couple of weeks.

There are a few visual arts events to consider.

The first is entitled A-Musings by CFree Artworx happening at the Studio 2880 Feature Gallery, starting today with live art from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free and there are refreshments served at 5 p.m.

Opening tomorrow at Ridgeside Art on Third Avenue is a show entitled Out of the Blue by Mo Hamilton and Melanie Desjardines. Works from the show are on display until the end of the month. Admissions is also free. For more info visit ridgesideart.com.

And if you think visual arts mixed with a downtown nightlife action might be for you, the fifth annual Art Battle is being held this year on Sept. 22 at HubSpace. Featuring an eclectic mix of 12 local artists, both established and emerging, the doors for this live art event open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are on sale at Studio 2880 or online at artbattle.com.

I'm excited for the start of the season for Theatre NorthWest. Jake's Gift opens tonight and runs until Oct. 1. TNW and artistic director Jack Grinhaus work hard to provide us with entertaining and thought-provoking theatrical pieces within a multi-dimensional Canadian context - fare that you generally can't find in a city of this size - and with ticket prices that are unbeatable. Now in its in 23rd season, TNW is truly a gem of our civic cultural scene, so I do encourage you to take in a play this season. For more information visit theatrenorthwest.com.

For classical music lovers, and even newbies, this year's gala PGSO concert is on Sept. 23 at the P.G. Playhouse and features guest performers O Sole Trio in a show entitled From Pavarotti to Pops. PGSO has just welcomed their new maestro Michael Hall to town and the concert on the 23rd features a classical crossover ensemble that consists of soprano, baritone and piano/violin. O Sole Trio has performed in places like Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, and throughout North America and the U.K. Tickets are on sale at centralinteriortickets.com.

Finally, a few words about an annual event called B.C. Culture Days, which this year occurs from Sept. 20 to Oct. 1. This nationwide, grassroots event is a collaborative, volunteer movement to raise the awareness engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.

Here in Prince George, several events have been planned to date.

On Sept. 29, Studio 2880 will be hosting an open house to introduce the 2017-2018 Artists-in-Residence, and for members of the public to come in and visit the various artisan guilds and cultural organizations that make the 15th Avenue complex their home. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there will be a fall fashion promo on all textile items sold in the Artisan Gift Shop. For more information call 250-563-2880.

On Sept. 30, Two Rivers Gallery will be presenting the third annual Mini Maker Faire, which is a showcase of local makers such as tech enthusiasts, artists, crafters, homesteaders, scientists, garage tinkerers, performers, inventors and more. Participants are from all ages, backgrounds and skill levels. This is a family event and is free. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Canada Games Way. For more information call 250-614-7800

The Exploration Place is also participating in B.C. Culture Days and is offering a full-day of free professional development day activities in their atrium, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 29 and on Oct, 1 will be offering free admission all day to seniors aged 65 and over. For more information call 250-562-1612.

You can also check back at culturedays.ca as more events come online. I look forward to seeing you out there, enjoying the diversity of our local arts and cultural scene.

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