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White Rock became even more arts-conscious Monday evening, as 10 members of the local arts community were celebrated at a special city council meeting at the Community Centre, kicking off the city’s first official International Artist Day festival.
The gala launch of the festival itself, which continues until Oct. 27, will come Friday night at the centre, 15154 Russell Ave., hosted by Jane Baldwin, wife of White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin.
Prior to Monday’s regularly scheduled business, Baldwin and councillors recognized White Rock Players Club founding members Phyllis Clifford and Guy Weston; Peninsula Productions’ co-founder Wendy Bollard; sculptor John Butt; 3-D visual artist Roxanne Charles; author Leona Gom; Xba Dance Studio owner Nela Hallwas; visual artist Judy Jordison; musician Oliver Gannon; and painter/muralist Richard Tetrault (also a participant in the gala and weekend art demonstrations).
Dubbed a celebration of arts and culture, Monday’s special meeting was to “acknowledge and express (council’s) appreciation on behalf of the community for their many contributions.”
Baldwin said board members of the Semiahmoo Arts Society were asked to provide a list of area contributors to the arts scene they felt deserved acknowledgment.
Monday’s event also featured a trio of songs performed by the White Rock Children’s Choir, musical entertainment by Semiahmoo Secondary jazz band students, Andrew Skepasts and Brandon Lin, and a preview of celebrity-painted aprons that are to be auctioned off at the International Artist Day gala.
Baldwin noted that Clifford and Weston are the last surviving founding members of the players’ club – which this year marked its 350th production.
Weston’s wife, Barbara, who was also a founding member, passed away last month.
Noting that funds to purchase and renovate the city’s first playhouse came largely from members who mortgaged their own homes to contribute, Baldwin said the impact of that continued dedication will not be forgotten.
“We know that your spirit will continue to live on in many performances to come,” he said.
Weston’s daughter, Kay Anuik, said after the event that the recognition for her father and other artists is appreciated.
She and her brother essentially grew up on stage as a result of their parents’ involvement in the local theatre scene, she said.
“We used to hang around in the theatre when rehearsals were going on,” she said, recalling having a few roles in the club’s pantomimes over the years.
Anuik said her father has been a White Rock resident for about 80 years – ever since he was 10.
Meanwhile, Jane Baldwin said Monday that organizers were busy putting the finishing touches on the gala, which will feature ‘Mr. O Canada’ Mark Donnelly as celebrity MC, and musical entertainment by award-winning local bassist Jodi Proznick and her trio.
“We’re really looking forward to having a great celebration,” she said of the wine and hors d’oeuvres event, for which International Artist Day founder Chris MacClure has assembled an unparalleled list of master artists, many of who will be sharing their art and techniques with the public during the course of the weekend.
Ticket price ($150) includes a $100 voucher which can be put toward the purchase of any piece of art featured in the festival.
In addition to MacClure and Tetrault, master artists present and showing work at the gala will be Alan Wylie, Raymond Chow, Arnie Fisk, Brent Heighton, Jon Einerssen, Dave Benning, Dan Gray, Gaye Adams, Keith Hiscock, Terry Isaac, Rick McDiarmid, Jef Morlan, Dave Patterson, Vance Theoret and Jose Ventura.
The line-up of talks, demonstrations and musical performances planned for the rest of the weekend will include, on Saturday, Oct. 26, Brent Heighton (11 a.m.), Leila Kurves Jazz Trio (11:30 a.m.), Kwantlen Guitar Quartet (1 p.m.), Chris MacClure (2 p.m.), Gaye Adams (3 p.m.), and on Sunday, Oct. 27, John Einerssen (11 a.m), the Willy Wang Jazz Trio (11:30 a.m.), the Madeline Young String Trio (1 p.m.), Richard Tetrault (2 p.m.), and Rick McDiarmid (3 p.m.).
Well-known local artists Shirley Thomas, Pauline Dutkowski, Georgina Johnstone, Sheila Symington, Eve Lees, Jess Rice, Irene Shklover, Trish Pollock, Peter Daniels, Nicole Carrie, Ann Worth, Marilyn Hurst, Louis Bomben and Serge Dube will be also be part of the anonymous 12x12-inch exhibition and sale at the centre.
Gala tickets can be purchased online through White Rock Leisure Services, by calling 604-541-2199 (Ext. 0), or in person at White Rock Community Centre.
– with files from Alex Browne