Launching in September 2010 in every province and territory, the volunteer driven Culture Days movement represents the largest-ever collective public participation campaign undertaken by the arts and cultural community in Canada.
Culture Days aims to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities in response to the growing recognition that a vibrant arts and cultural sector contributes directly to a healthy and stable society.
As a civil society driven initiative, Culture Days is directed by a national steering committee and volunteer provincial task forces from a variety of backgrounds who are rallying their arts and cultural communities to promote the event to the public at the regional and local level.
Individual artists, cultural groups, organizations, municipalities and festivals are encouraged to offer free participatory and interactive arts and cultural activities during Culture Days featuring hands-on, interactive components that invite the public to participate behind the scenes and discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers in their community. In support of the events, Culture Days will drive a major national communications and public relations campaign.
Anything that brings creators and the public closer together is possible during Culture Days. Visitors to a theatre are invited to attend a dress rehearsal; a professional songwriter pens, composes, arranges and records a song with a class of students; the crew of a television studio offers a guided tour; a glassblower shares the warmth of his workplace; a museum opens up its restoration workshop to the public; a nighttime tour encourages people to look at their neighbourhood architecture in a whole new light; engravers open the doors of their studios to reveal the secrets of their art; a playwright holds a performance in a laundromat.
Culture Days relies on volunteer participation from citizens, business people, cultural professionals, organizations, or any other entity imaginable. If you are interested in participating in Culture Days visit culturedays.ca or email a member of Nova Scotia’s Task Force.
Elsewhere in Nova Scotia organizers have already registered their events with Culture Days. Forerunner Playwrights Theatre in Halifax will make an afternoon rehearsal open to the public, followed by a talk back session offered to the public for a chance to meet the artists involved. Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos in West Pubnico, Yarmouth County, will host museum tours, costumed interpreters, garden tours and a look at the process of making hooked rugs, braided rugs, crochet, knitting, tatting, quilting, and red work embroidery. Symphony Nova Scotia will present the third annual Symphony Week packed with free concerts and musical events in public spaces throughout Halifax while Shelburne County Arts Council will ask locals to create art made of garbage, with winners featured in an exhibit at the Osprey Arts Centre.
If you have ideas about how local Cape Breton communities can participate in Culture Days why not share them in the comments and let’s start brainstorming how our local cultural industry can be part of this national celebration.