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Celebrating arts and culture: Canada-wide event aims to educate and inspire

Still riding high off the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival that took place earlier this month, Fredericton celebrated another arts-centric event downtown this past weekend.

With the aim of celebrating Canadian arts and culture, Sept. 26, 27 and 28 marked Culture Days across Canada. Now in its fifth year, the program is designed to not only celebrate the arts, but also to raise awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement within the arts community.

Nadia Khoury is the English co-chair for the province of New Brunswick. She explained how much work it takes to set up and run this annual event.

“We take almost six months of preparation … behind the scenes, we have a task force committee, made up of arts and culture organizations and we discuss how we’d like to run Culture Days that year.”

The city of Fredericton hosted a number of events to go along with the weekend. From art gallery visits to a demo on rug hooking, the downtown area was filled with activities for people of all ages to check out. While the groups at the events were small, people had a great time and left with more information on the arts community.

Khoury explained that’s why it’s important to have a weekend like this in New Brunswick, where the arts may not always seem as important.

“It’s important to have unity across the province. We’re in a period here where a lot of things are happening and people feel as if they’re on their own. But if you have a weekend where things are happening all over the province, it’s a quiet type of celebration.”

Following its 2007 launch, the event has grown into something supported by every province and is continuously growing every year. Khoury thinks it’s a great way for artists and art enthusiasts to connect.

“It started as a movement to bring awareness to arts and culture all over the country. It’s to encourage people who are doing events to register online. We then create a web of arts and culture events across the country on the same weekend.”

Khoury says it’s important for people to start emerging themselves in the arts and culture community at an early age, as she believes it helps create better people.

“If they’re aware at a young age, then they can really spread the word and actually have arts and culture as a way of life, to enjoy culture and immerse themselves in it. There’s a lot of support for sports but not so much for the arts.”

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