Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Exploring Art and Culture in Fort McMurray

When someone from outside hears about Fort McMurray I suspect they don’t often hear about the arts and culture scene in our community. I think that is so disappointing, as we have a vibrant arts and culture scene here, and this weekend in celebration of Alberta Culture Days I am planning on participating in a few events.

Yesterday I had the honour of taking part in a silk painting workshop at MacDonald Island Park. Titled “The Silk Caravanna” it has brought a Yellowknife textile artist to our community, and I had the opportunity to create a small silk panel that will be on display, as well as create a scarf for me to keep. I was actually stunned at how simple the process is, and the incredibly beautiful result, a scarf in shades of teal and turquoise and cobalt that I am proudly wearing today. I happened to wander by when some local high school students were creating scarves, and I was delighted with the incredible variety of patterns and colours and the pure sense of creative joy happening in the main concourse. I am taking the Intrepid Junior Blogger back this weekend to try it out, as when I got home and showed her my scarf she would not believe I had done it (she knows my artistic abilities to be less than stellar – and incidentally if you want to keep your ego in check I highly recommend teen girls who say things like “there is no way you made that – no way”).

On Saturday I will be headed to Holy Trinity High School for the launch of Issue #9 of Northword Magazine. I have become incredibly fond of this lovely little magazine, and have had the honour of being published in it. In this most recent issue I submitted a poem of a very personal nature, and on Saturday I will read it at the launch event. I don’t really consider myself a poet, but I have learned over the last year that on occasion the emotions I find most difficult to express flow much easier in poems. The poem I will read on Saturday is one that has great significance, and was quite truly the beginning of a journey that has seen me exploring a difficult time through poetry, and it will be a pleasure to share it with others.

And you see these events are just two of the many happening in our region to celebrate arts and culture. There are several others, including the opening weekend of the new play “Boeing Boeing” at Keyano Theatre, and “The World Meets in Wood Buffalo”, a celebration of a variety of cultures and traditional dances. So much is happening, in fact, that I think one would be hard-pressed to attend everything, but I know there are those who will try.
I am very excited about the events I will attend,  particularly experimenting in silk painting with the Intrepid Junior Blogger and exploring literature with all those others in this community who love the written word as I do. And the funny thing is these things, these celebrations of arts and culture, don’t just happen in Fort McMurray on Alberta Culture Days. These events happen year round, with so many groups and individuals dedicated to enriching our lives through an exploration of creativity and culture. We have so many options here, such a rich and vibrant tapestry of individuals and experiences, and it is a genuine honour to witness it, and even more of one to participate in it. I encourage everyone to get out and attend at least one event this weekend, if not more, and celebrate art and culture in our community. You see the secret about art and culture is that it isn’t something we create – it is something we are, all of us bringing our ideas and thoughts and skills and talents and creativity and enthusiasm together. We might officially celebrate it on one weekend a year – but in my mind it is always “culture days” in Fort McMurray, because we have such an amazing culture to share.


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