Local vendors showcase their wares on Artisans Row at the B.C. Day Performing Arts Festival this past August.

ARTS COLUMN: West Shore arts community looks ahead with anticipation to 2015

Having partnered on many successful events last year, the West Shore Arts Council has big plans for 2015

The trappings of the new year – the celebrations, countdowns, resolutions – always evoke for me the Roman god Janus.

It’s no surprise that Janus is often mistakenly identified as the namesake for January: with one face looking to the past and one facing the future, Janus represents beginnings and transitions, like those we face in this month. He reminds us to take a moment at this time of year to reflect on the past, to celebrate our successes and to use that energy to work towards a successful future.

The past year saw continued steady growth of the West Shore’s appetite for arts and culture. In particular, our West Shore Arts Council continued to expand our programming and bolster our partnerships in local arts and culture events.

Here are some of 2014’s highlights:

In May, the council and our community partners once again worked with student artists to showcase their best works at Royal Roads University. We were able to offer additional support in 2014 to help expand the show into a full-scale event. We look forward to expanding this event in new and exciting ways in 2015. Stay tuned.

In August, in partnership with the City of Langford and Westhills, we hosted the B.C. Day Performing Arts Festival, featuring a nonstop lineup of free performances by local talents – music, dancing, theatre, clowning and more – as well as food and children’s activities. The festival was well-enjoyed and served as a great affirmation of the diversity and quality of talent in our community.

Over this past year, the arts council continued to work toward the creation of a performing arts centre for our region. In the spring, the West Shore Arts Task Force evolved into a small Steering Committee which includes our council president. This group is stewarding the next phase of work and we expect the next year to be a productive one for the development of this project.

Throughout 2014, we also had the privilege of sponsoring some of the West Shore’s most well-loved events, including the Colwood Art and Wine Festival, Metchosin Day, the Highlands Fling and the Luxton Fall Fair.

Looking forward, our council has great energy and plans for the coming year, but we’re also interested in your ideas. Send us an email at info@westshorearts.org, or get involved by joining our membership and taking an active role the future of arts and culture in our community. For details, visit westshorearts.org.

Johanna Henderson is a board member with the West Shore Arts Council and principal with Shelter Creative Services.

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