Tuesday, 02 October 2012 15:17

Another great culture days weekend in Swift Current

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Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer helps kick off Culture Days on Sept 28. Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer helps kick off Culture Days on Sept 28. Jessi Gowan

This year’s Culture Days weekend featured nearly 40 activities and events throughout Swift Current, from arts and music to sports and dance. The national initiative was a chance for residents to participate in regular cultural opportunities free of charge, and to take in special events, as well.

 

“We have a quite vibrant and interested culture community, lots of people who are interested in having quality culture, arts, and heritage in their lives,” explained Kim Houghtaling, Director and Curator of Art Gallery of Swift Current, and one of the organizers of Culture Days in Swift Current. “This is proven in the number of cultural events and activities that have developed in this community over the years. I think when there is an opportunity to really celebrate that and make a spectacle of it, people are excited to show off their culture.”

Houghtaling noted that since most of those who are regularly involved in Swift Current’s cultural community were active in putting on Culture Days events, the majority of those actually participating were people who were either new to the community as a whole, or who just hadn’t yet experienced all of the cultural activities that Swift Current has to offer.

“These activities are all part of the fabric of the culture within a community,” Houghtaling noted. “Part of how we are informing people of this is by exploring what culture is. Culture has sort of become associated with just the face of culture, which is arts and heritage. These are expressions of our culture, but we forget that culture encompasses everything about the way we live and the quality of life that we have. Even sports are an important part of our culture.”

This year’s event included even more events to fully embrace this idea, such as Ranchman’s Ridin’ & Recitin’. This event was a great chance for people to learn a bit more about the Western history of this area. Another new activity was the growing mural project at Smart Flowers, where participants were able to help create a beautiful installation artwork.

“It shows the art of flowers, and lets people see what you can do with plant materials to use them in an artistic way,” explained Poppy Parsons, owner of Smart Flowers and Saskatchewan’s only Certified Floral Designer. “I wanted to do a larger piece, but let everyone contribute to it so that the public can be involved and interactive with the project.”

While the mural wasn’t the hit that Parsons hoped it might be, she noted that participants seemed to really enjoy having the chance to work with the different materials she had available – both fresh and dried. She was still pleased to have been a part of such a fantastic weekend.

“I think a lot of the public just doesn’t know everything that goes on in town, just the bits and pieces of what they’ve maybe tried before,” she added. “This showcases a lot of smaller elements that you might not normally think about, and I think that’s so good for the entire community.”

Although reports haven’t come in from most of the organizations and individuals involved with organizing the events, Houghtaling noticed that they have seen both more and fewer people attending Culture Days activities.

“It’s a really interesting mix, with some good turnouts and then some smaller than last year,” he admitted. “It’s very unpredictable. Swift Current is a great size of community in that we all know each other. It’s big enough to be a city, but small enough to still be a community. Through that community-mindedness, we can all work together to have a really special event. It’s all about pride in who you are and where you’re from and what you’ve become.”

To view more photos from the weekend, check out the Culture Days image gallery.

Read 2248 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 October 2012 15:36
Jessi Gowan

Reporter/Photographer

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