South Okanagan Performing Arts Society taking on a more regional mandate - InfoNews

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South Okanagan Performing Arts Society taking on a more regional mandate

The City of Penticton is no longer reserving this lot at Ellis Street and Nanaimo Avenue for a future arts centre, but the is studying how arts will fit into future plans for Ellis Street in the coming years.
December 05, 2019 - 3:45 PM

A local society has found there is a lot of interest in the performing arts in the South Okanagan and Similkameen after a visioning exercise that broke down silos between groups.

Following a presentation to Penticton city council in July, members of the South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society returned to council chambers on Tuesday to present a report on its recent activities.

Performing arts and other cultural groups across the South Okanagan and Similkameen are uniting in a regional effort to more clearly define the artistic community’s needs in the region following years of Penticton-focused attempts to create a new arts centre in the city.

Council provided the group with a $5,000 grant earlier this year to put together a workshop tasked with determining a “grassroots” vision for the future of culture in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

The group conducted their workshop in late October and presented a summary of their efforts to council on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Leighton McCarthy, Glenn Sinclair and Cal Meiklejohn made the presentation, informing council the workshop attracted enthusiastic participants form a broad cross-section of arts and culture organizations throughout the region.

They said the various groups found consensus and agreed to continue working together moving forward, adding the South Okanagan Similkameen has many vibrant, growing and financially stable arts organizations.

Sinclair told council the workshop proved invaluable in breaking down silos existing between the region’s different arts groups, many of whom did not know who each other was.

There is little support to disband the South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society, but there was a consensus to rename the group the South Okanagan Similkameen Arts Board, with a mandate to continue speaking with regional arts groups and programs and to someday build a new performing arts centre.

The group also presented the city with a cheque for $2,500, money remaining from council’s $5,000 contribution.

The board members asked for and received council support for their efforts to regionalize the organization.

The arts board’s next step is to hold an annual general meeting, expected to take place in late February.


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