Prince Albert readying for Culture Days

The Kumintang Folk Ensemble performs a traditional dance from the Philippines with fans and bamboo at Tapestrama on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Arts and culture groups in Prince Albert are gearing up for Culture Days this weekend.

Prince Albert’s Culture Days will be held from Sept. 27 to 29 this year, to coincide with Culture Days events across Canada.

Culture Days is an annual, nationwide celebration of arts and culture, “offering people of all ages and walks of life an opportunity to try hands-on creative activities for free, with the goal of getting more people involved in local arts and culture,” according to a press release from Culture Days Saskatchewan.

“Many people look forward to this opportunity each year to connect with the arts and culture in their communities. It’s a chance for them to spend time with their families, learn something new, express their creativity, and ultimately contribute to their overall well-being,” said Rose Gilks, chief executive officer, SaskCulture, and national board member, Culture Days in a press release.

 “We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Culture Days this year. There continue to be new communities located around the province participating each year, eager for the opportunity to engage new people in a cultural experience. It is especially gratifying to see communities such as Weyburn, Prince Albert, Humboldt, Yorkton, Lloydminster, Eastend and others participate each year, increasing engagement in their communities – taking the opportunity to connect people, showcase diversity, build inclusiveness and social capital, as well as realizing some economic benefits.”

Locally, events are being held at the Arts Centre, Plaza 88, Gateway Mall, Mann Art Gallery and Historical Museum.

The Prince Albert Multicultural Council (PAMC) is hosting Tapestrama at Plaza 88. The annual event is a celebration of the many cultures in Prince Albert.

“The main objective of Tapestrama is always gathering together, a celebration of the different cultures and diversity we have in our community,” said PAMC executive director Michelle Hassler.

“To be able to learn from each other, respect each others’ culture and learn about commonalities instead of the differences between culture and race. If we get together, we celebrate together, we will learn that we are all the same. That will make a better community.”

 Hassler said the highlight of Tapestrama this year is a dance group from the Philippines, Powerdance by Douglas Nierras.

Hassler described them as “a premier dance group from the Philippines.”

The group is on a tour through the US and Canada.

“We are so happy to have them stop in Prince Albert and being part of Tapestrama this year,” she said.

Hassler said there are also different food vendors and performers this year as well.

“We will get to taste a different side o the world this year,” Hassler said.

“We want everybody to come together to celebrate each other’s culture. Hopefully, we will learn new, different cultures and all the similarities and commonalities of the diversity we have in our community.”

Admission to Tapestrama, which runs Saturday and Sunday from noon until 8 p.m., is by donation.

Friday night will see the cultural café and concert, featuring performances by Jam Street Bands and the O’Kraut Band, cultural presentations and more. That runs from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Prince Albert Arts Centre on Central Ave.

From 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Culture Days will run at the museum with culture games from the past and present from various cultures. From 11-4 the annual urban art tour will take place at the Gateway Mall, along with a collaborative community HeART sculpture project from artist Cheryl Ring.

Over at the Mann Art Gallery, Culture Days will be celebrated with Open Doors and More.

As usual, the gallery will be running a free family art activity and gallery tours.

This year’s activity ties into the interactive Axenet’l Tth’al (fringe) exhibit in the main gallery. Participants will build hanging mobiles with natural materials and painting images of the gallery’s wolf sculpture.

While the gallery has offered tours during Culture Days before, this year has something a little bit different.

“We will also be giving tours of our vault,” acting curator Lana Wilson said.

“The Mann Art Gallery has a permanent art collection of over 3,800 works, and over the past two years, we have been reorganizing how we store the. We will be pulling out some of our very favourite artworks that are int eh collection.”

Wilson said people can step inside the gallery’s space and get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at how the gallery works to collects and arranges work.

“We thought people would enjoy having a chance to actually see all the different areas of the gallery. That’s why we’re calling it Open Doors and More.”

That runs from 1-4 p.m. Saturday.

The gallery, along with other participating Culture Days organizations, is also taking some of its programming right to students.

“The gallery is also part of the Prince Albert Culture Days Hub,” Wilson said.

“With the rest of the hub organizers, the Mann Art Gallery is going into some schools and delivering a free art program to three different classes on Friday.”

For more information on Culture Days activities, visit the Culture Days – Prince Albert Facebook page.