West Kelowna  

Westside art council to launch

Suk’ʷtəmsqilxʷ West Kelowna Arts Council (SWAC), a newly incorporated council on the westside, is to be officially launched February 18 at the Greater Westside Board of Trade’s luncheon at the Cove during Canada’s Heritage Week. The council stemmed from last year's Westside Culture Days in which many participants, artists and businesses alike, voiced their enthusiasm and support of westside artwork.

Julia Trops, one of the collaborators that led to the creation of the art council and an artist herself, said that many artists and performers in the community are on the westside and that it is not always necessary to go to Kelowna. This idea sparked the creation of the council.

"We asked 150 people if an art council should be made," said Trops who added that there was a resounding 'yes'. "Of those, 12 helped create the art council, which is a mix of artists, West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation representatives."

The Okanagan word 'Suk’ʷtəmsqilxʷ' means 'half indigenous, half non-indigenous' and represents the connection between the District of West Kelowna and the Westbank First Nations governments and their mutual support of the art council.

According to Tracy Satin, a representative of the WFN at Sncəwips Heritage Museum, the council has received a huge amount of positive feedback, within and outside the First Nations community.

"The council is very inclusive. All of those involved want to create an identity within West Kelowna," said Satin who goes on to explain that the creation of the council has been very seamless and everyone the council talks to is on board.

SWAC’s vision is one of cooperation and inclusion aimed at enriching the community by developing a vibrant cultural landscape. The council's Constitution emphasizes the focus on community and partnership of artists, businesses, and community members in events, cultural programs, and education. 

"I wanted to be part of the council because I'm really interested in culture, especially in the Okanagan," said Kimberleigh Trops, a business student at Okanagan College. "A lot of people here don't know First Nations culture well enough to really appreciate it, so the arts council will hopefully shed some light on that."

The Trade luncheon's theme this year is 'main street', which Julia Trops says perfectly encompasses how business and art are not exclusive of each other, but rather complementary.  At the Trade's luncheon, SWAC will present their business plan, let attendants know how they can participate, and showcase westside artwork. West Kelowna's mayor, Doug Findlater, may also be attending the luncheon.

The council invites all artists to participate in SWAC and the launch; all that is needed is an Associate Artist membership to the council. The deadline to apply is February 12. Selected artists are able to display two larger and three smaller works. Artists must supply their own easels. Tickets for this event are $20 and may be purchased from Karen Beaubier at 250-768-3378 or [email protected]

The inaugural board consists of westside businesses and artists: artist Julia Trops, WFN Heritage Officer Tracy Satin, business graduate Brenna Mackaay, business student Kimberleigh Trops, film maker Jason Woodford, West Kelowna Blenz owner Melissa Brown, Dogwood Nursery representative Arlene Currie, and artists Rebekah Wilkinson, Matthew Brown, Pat Raphael, Ralph Carlson, and Pat Huber.

All are welcome to join the council. If interested, contact SWAC by email ([email protected]) or 'like' their Facebook page

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