Culture Days is back for 2020, and to reflect the wild year that surrounds it, there have been changes to the event. Traditionally a week, it is now a full month, going from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25. But while there’s more time, and more remote events, the purpose of Culture Days remains the same, to promote arts and culture across Canada.
Angelina Kardynal, organizer for Yorkton, said it’s exciting to have an opportunity to try something new for Culture Days. All events are posted online, with hubs for each community and events being shared nationally as well.
“It has really made it more accessible to everyone.”
Artists, performers or anyone with an event that they want to share can create an event in the city, and then Kardynal will link it through the Yorkton hub. Proposals can also be submitted to the City of Yorkton if funding is needed for supplies. All events must be published on the Culture Days website by Sept. 24, but Kardynal said that they just need a rough idea of the event by that point.
“At that point, even if you just have a rough outline of what your event will look like, you can edit it after it’s posted on the website. The important part is just getting it posted by that deadline, so we can keep it on the hub. Details can come after, you can plan your event any time in that time period, Sept. 25-Oct.25.”
All events at Culture Days will be free to the public, and any in-person events will follow all social-distancing guidelines.
Events on the hub so far include different walking tours of Yorkton and a workshop hosted by Tricia Friesen Reed called “Writing Barefoot,” described as “a whole-body, kinesthetic workshop experience” on Oct. 3. Two of Yorkton’s events will be hosted by the Yorkton Arts Council, a Yarn Bombing at the fence at the Gallagher Centre and this year’s Story Slam competition, which has moved online.
The Yarn Bombing invites people in Yorkton to knit and crochet different works and attach them to the fence at the Gallagher Centre, inspired by the sunflowers on the fence as a tribute to the cancelled 2020 Sunflower Arts and Crafts market, explained Tonia Vermette with the Yorkton Arts Council. The goal is to get the entire fence covered in yarn.
Vermette said it can be a chance to learn a new craft at home, and has been posting videos to help people learn how to crochet or knit. But she also notes that it’s a great opportunity for veteran knitters to stretch their legs, and try out new shapes and designs that are a bit different than a traditional sweater or blanket.
“This might be the chance to do those [ideas] in large scale, put them up, and bring a little sunshine into our lives at this time.”
Vermette said that it’s also the ideal event for an environment of social distancing, because the majority of work happens at home, and installing it on the fence doesn’t require anyone to get very close.
“You can just go to the fence and sew your work on there. The fence is really long, so we’ve got lots of room to spread out even if we have several people installing work at the same time.”
Vermette hopes that the yarn bombing can be a regular event into the future.
Story Slam is a long-running event in the city, but is part of Culture Days for the first time thanks to the new format. It’s also online for the first time, with storytellers invited to make a recording of themselves. Winning stories will be also published in Yorkton This Week, so a written copy will have to be submitted as well as a performance. They also need to send in a photo, so they can create a group photo for the virtual console. Application forms are available at yorktonarts.ca.
“We’re still asking people to tell a story, but they have to submit an audio recording of the story.”
The Yorkton Arts Council and the Parkland Writer’s Alliance thought it was important to keep the Story Slam going this year because it’s a way to stay connected.
“People are really looking for things to do and ways to keep things going doing this pandemic time… Something to give you a little smile, something to keep you going. I think it’s a great opportunity for authors.”
Vermette also said that it’s a good opportunity for people intimidated by performing live to have a chance to tell a story.
Kardynal said that Culture Days highlights the value culture has in a community.
“Culture is for everyone, it touches the lives of everyone in our community, it shows the diversity of our community, the talent, the richness of our background of our culture and our heritage,” said Kardynal.