Lots of arts and music in Chemainus

The Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society’s board puts their heart into nurturing the region’s local music and art venues.

The Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society’s board puts their heart into nurturing the region’s local music and art venues.

The society, founded in 2000, became a registered Arts Council with the Assembly of BC Arts Councils in 2008.

Chair Kathy Wachs advises that although they do promote visual arts in the area, the group’s emphasis is on music. Their venue is the band shell in Chemainus’ Waterwheel Park.

“It’s a beautiful setting in Waterwheel Park — the rustic and covered band shell, grass for resting on and a playground for children, trees for shade, a welcoming environment for dogs, and often the show’s backdrop is a setting sun,” she says.

Wachs is a busy local volunteer who was named Chemainus Volunteer of the Year in 2011.

She indicated that her work with the CVCAS board is fun and motivating. Although they have no office or gallery, the society’s endeavours focus on live, local performances.

Also active are past chair Wes Everitt, vice-chair Bob Johns, secretary Karen Hopkins and treasurer Christina Godbolt. Directors include Philip Holmes, Mavis Skeikh, Susan Martin, Jeff Ratcliff and Shelley Rouse.

The 2012 season starts this year with the Arts and Ethnics Festival April 28 at the Chemainus Seniors Centre on Willow Street.

Wachs notes that this is a showcase for ethnic foods, dance, artists, artisans and more and is part of BC Arts and Cultural Week, in which the spotlight is on the vital contribution that arts and culture make in learning and in life. The festival will have a wide range of art and music from countries from all over the world. There will be a variety of performances and artists displaying their products.

Starting June 12, the weekly live music at Waterwheel Park kicks off.

Local, live performances provide a festive and neighbourly gathering every Tuesday night. Wachs suggests checking in with the website in the coming months for the list of performers for this year’s shows. She advised that the Coastal Community Credit Union continues to be an avid supporter of their society. The music events are very well attended by the community, often with audiences between 100 and 300 people. It sounds like evenings of fun for us all to look forward to as we wait for the sun-filled days of summer.

The CVCAS is also behind the successful once-a-year bluegrass extravaganza in Waterwheel Park.

Bob Johns is the organizer of the annual Bluegrass Festival that takes place July 14 this year. Wooden benches are provided for approximately 200 viewers in front of the stage, and, in addition, there is room for comfortable lawn chairs and cushions on the grass.

The event is donation-based and thrives on hearty generosity from the crowd. Featured artists are already noted online.

Although we are in the depths of the winter rainy season, just pondering on some of the summer joys can lift your spirits. Mark your calendars and take in the music this summer and get to know our Chemainus neighbours.

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Just a reminder that intake for the upcoming Rock Paper Scissors exhibit is Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

The gala opening is Sat., Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Waterfront Gallery in Ladysmith. The public is welcome to join us for an evening of fine art and fun.

Gabriola glass and mixed media artist Tammy Hudgeon will be the guest speaker at the opening.