Starting Sept. 24, Culture Days will be celebrated for a month in Swift Current

Taneshea Francis speaks about Culture Days activities to be hosted by the Swift Current Branch Library, Sept. 14.

A month-long celebration of arts and culture will take place in Swift Current from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24 as part of Culture Days activities taking place across the country during this period.

Details of the Culture Days activities in Swift Current were announced by participating organizations during a media event at the Art Gallery of Swift Current, Sept. 14.

The City of Swift Current is partnering with several organizations in the community to provide residents with a variety of activities during the month.

The event partners are the Art Gallery of Swift Current, Lyric Theatre, Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre, Swift Current Agriculture & Exhibition Association, Swift Current Branch Library, Swift Current Cultural Festivals, Swift Current Museum, and Swift Current and Area Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

City of Swift Current Community Services Events and Program Manager Nicole Spenst said this year’s Culture Days in the community will be on a scale not seen for some time.

“Back in the day there were partnerships through SaskCulture for funding and we used to have a community celebration where all the organizations got together,” she explained. “And then when that funding kind of dispersed, all of the organizations went on their own and still did their own thing to celebrate Culture Days. So we're really excited this year to pull it all together into one huge community celebration to celebrate Culture Days.”

A significant difference to the format in 2021 will be that Culture Days will be celebrated for an entire month, and not only during a few days.

“The fact that it can be spread out over the month from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24 really gives that opportunity for residents to check out all the amazing opportunities that are going to be taking place,” she said. “In the past, we used to cram it all into one weekend or a small period of time. So this month is really allowing you to see all the great events that are going to be happening in our community to celebrate culture and also give you the opportunity to take part in it, as all the activities are free for everyone to participate in.”

Culture Days was initiated in 2010 by the Canadian Arts Summit. It takes place annually towards the end of September across the country to offer free arts and culture events to Canadians. The Culture Days national organization works with provincial partners. SaskCulture is the provincial partner in Saskatchewan, and Spenst noted the support received for the events in Swift Current.

“We've been really thankful to have support from SaskCulture to make this happen,” she said. “They provided some additional funding to ensure that all the events were free of charge.”

She added the City is also thankful towards the local partner organizations for providing the different activities and events during the month.

“Everyone we reached out to was so excited to come on board and be a part of the month's celebrations and events,” she noted.

The contributions of these organizations reflect the spirit of cooperation in the community and Culture Days presents an opportunity for the community to come together.

“I think that's something that we're very fortunate here in Swift Current,” she said. “It's the people that make a community. It's events that help to build that community, to build relationships, to get people together, to gather, to feel that sense of pride, to feel accomplishment in yourself to be able to be a part of something. … I really think that's what the Culture Days celebration is about. An opportunity to celebrate the great things that make us unique and allow us all to find a place to feel comfortable in, to feel a part of, and become a community that values all of the great things in our community.”

One of the great things about Culture Days is the opportunities it will provide to experience such a wide variety of events.

“It is a very diverse opportunity to take part in a variety of different visual and cultural activities, and we're so excited to have all of these partnerships and all of these great events available right here in our community,” she said. “I think we're very fortunate to have these amazing non-profit organizations in our community that help us to experience these cultural opportunities.”

The Swift Current Agriculture & Exhibition Association is hosting the new Frontier Fall Fair with a variety of events happening at Kinetic Park from Sept. 24-26. The Southwest Showcase trade show will take place in the Stockade. Ranchman's Ridin' & Recitin' includes the Junior Stockman’s livestock show, a livestock pen show, a heavy horse show, and cowboy poetry.

The Swift Current Branch Library will host various activities during the month. Indigenous storytime, a weekly evening program for families, will start on Sept. 21. It will take place for eight weeks on every Tuesday at 6 p.m. An orange dream catcher workshop in honour of Orange Shirt Day will take place on Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. 

The library will host a cultural and beading workshop with Randi Lynn Nanemahoo-Candline and Wilbur Sargunaraj on Sept. 27 from 4-5 p.m. A traveling exhibition about the Sixties Scoop will be at the library on Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Several other events will focus on reconciliation. The Swift Current and Area Truth and Reconciliation Committee is hosting a ceremony to raise the Treaty 4 and Métis Nation flags as permanent new additions to the flag court on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m.

The Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre is hosting a Reconcili-Action concert at the Lyric Theatre on Sept. 27, starting at 7 p.m. It will feature cultural intelligence facilitator Wilbur Sargunaraj and Randi Lynn Nanemahoo-Candline, a Cree jingle dancer and educator from Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta.

The Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre will be hosting a multicultural family photo day on Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.0am-2:00pm. A local photographer will host mini photo sessions with those registering for the event.

Swift Current Cultural Festivals is partnering with the Art Gallery of Swift Current to offer a kite-building workshop at the Dickson Community Centre on Oct. 16 from 1-3 p.m.

The Lyric Theatre will present an open rehearsal of the world premiere production of Burn Rubber Dolly by local playwright Wendy Lockman. The audience will be able to watch the rehearsal and also interact during the evening to ask questions and make suggestions. The rehearsal will start at 7 p.m.

The Swift Current Museum and the Southwest Newcomer Centre is hosting a performance by bhangra dancers at Market Square on Sept. 25. The museum’s new exhibition To Market: Farm to Table is already open, and the museum is hosting a Lunch and Learn talk by Caroline Barrington of Clean Spade Urban Farm at noon on Oct. 13. Details of another evening talk later in October will be announced soon.

The Art Gallery of Swift Current is hosting an open ceramics hand building workshop at the Dickson Community Centre on Oct. 2, with four sessions during the day, starting at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. It will be a fun art project for individuals and families to create a unique bowl, cup or mug. There is also a new exhibition at the art gallery featuring the works of painter Jonathan Forrest.

Full details about Culture Days events in Swift Current from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24 are available on the City of Swift Current website at: www.swiftcurrent.ca/culturedays

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