Though many already consider Fort Langley to be a vibrant hub of the Fraser Valley, the village will become even more of a cultural centre over the Sept. 27-29 weekend as it hosts a celebration of artisans, food, and provincial history.
B.C. Culture Days is a yearly effort to raise awareness, accessibility, participation, and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life and connect them with their communities.
The program is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year and picked 10 applicants from across the province – all emerging artists – to serve as cultural ambassadors in a new program.
Fort Langley’s own Molly Gray, a lino-cut print artist, was one of the ambassadors chosen; she earned a three-month mentorship through Canadian Senior Artists Resources Network with the Malasapina Printmakers Society on Granville Island.
“I found out through a friend involved with the Mission Arts Council and I hadn’t heard about them before. B.C. Culture Days was not previously well-known in the valley, but it is actually Canada-wide.” Gray explained. “This was a stepping stone into the arts community and a way for me to put myself out there and get out of my comfort zone.”
Gray also went door-knocking around the community, rounding up artists and creative minds to share their talents in a series of workshops and classes – more than 10 different artists and groups agreed to participate.
“It became our mission to promote arts and culture to people who may not know about them,” Gray added. “Everything will be in walking distance – it’s a great community event.”
Events happening around town on Saturday, Sept. 28 includes a Vegan Food Festival held at the Fort Langley Community Hall with vendors offering up products, snacks, and treats.
The Creative Compass will host Wheels of Time, a series of historical vignettes re-enacting the history of the CN Station on the actual train platform. The show will run every hour between 12 and 4 p.m. at the northwest corner of Mavis Avenue and Glover Road.
A lampwork glass demonstration by artist Susan Rind, canoe carving demo by Carman McKay, Silver Haida engraving by artist Sky Phoenix Shanna, Ring Making Demo by artist Anita Bisset, and Plein Air Painting hosted by Creative Compass will also be happenning on Saturday, with the bulk of everything taking place inside Gasoline Alley.
Gray will also host her own workshop called “Carve Out Your Place” where she will hold three sessions in which participants can learn the basics of lino-cut printmaking and carve their own relief block.
Fabric made by each individual during the workshop will go towards a quilt featuring dozens of unique fabric designs and will later be on display around Fort Langley.
“Being an artist is challenging – there are a lot of ups and downs,” Gray added. “Family members always asking ‘when are you going to get a real job’. It takes time and persistence and I feel B.C. Culture Days is a way to say that it is a real way to make a living.”
The Langley Centennial Museum (9135 King St) will also facilitate several events throughout the weekend.
Exploring Multiples examines the museum’s current exhibit Langley Collects through an artist workshop and the process of printmaking with the use of found materials – Saturday, 12 until 2 p.m.
The B.C. Mobile Museum will also make a stop at the Centennial Museum from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with authentic collection items from First Nations tribes, pioneers, fur traders, and gold rush prospectors.
For a full line-up of exhibitors, events, and participants, people can visit www.culturedays.ca.
”Fort Langley does have a lot of arts and cultural events, but instead of a specific showcases of what people can do, B.C. Culture Days is more of ‘look what I can do and you can do it to’,” Gray said. “It’s about sparking that passion, whatever that is, be it through dancing, lino-cuts, or eating differently.”
For more information on Gray and her lino-cut work, people can visit www.goatandpebble.com.
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