Arts centre ‘springs back’ after COVID shutdown

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SUBMITTED BY ARTSPRING

Tada! ArtSpring is back. More piano than forte, softly but surely, our community arts centre will be offering live music, dance, theatre and visual art displays beginning in October. 

The box office reopens on Tuesday, Sept. 22 and for three half-days a week — Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — islanders will be able to purchase tickets to an exciting repertoire of events. Online sales continue outside of these times. Arrangements have been modified to accommodate the circumstances and keep our patrons, staff and volunteers safe. 

Theatre performances will be limited to 50 seats. All performances will be one hour long, with no intermission or concession service. Artist CDs, if available, can be pre-ordered and delivered to your seat.

The season launches with three exciting Valdy concerts, and concludes with the Peggy Baker dance performance, unmoored, postponed from last May. The new season includes the much-loved duo Kai Gleusteen and Catherine Ordronneau, a return visit from folk group The Fretless, a new piece by local artists Christina Penhale and Jeffrey Renn called Lovin’ Shakespeare, and first-time visits from pianist Angela Hewitt, Afro-Cuban singer-songwriter Alex Cuba, and jazz singer Maya Rae.

On Oct. 16 an exhibit of local artists — Collaborations In a Time of Covid — will showcase some extraordinary artistic talents in combination. Curated by Margaret Day, visual artists are paired with writers and charged to create collaborative work. What happens to the creative process when visual artists and writers work in concert? This show will display the results of these interesting duets. 

Youth programming will also be front and centre with the Makana Youth Choir, directed by Caroni Young, practising every Friday from 3 to 4 p.m., September through May and culminating in end-of-season concerts.

Art Enrichment classes with Erin Cleal and Tracy Harrison will round out youth programming. This year Harrison focuses on the work of artist Pablo Picasso. A true master, Picasso sketched, sculpted and painted canvas and clay. Students ages eight to 14 will create their own masterpieces inspired by the work and techniques of Picasso.   

We realize that the current 50-person limit on audience size makes renting the theatre challenging for our community artists. From October, ArtSpring is temporarily reducing the theatre rates for community rental clients to encourage performers to benefit from the use of our venue. We can do this thanks to the critical financial support of various government programs in these unprecedented times.

And in January, ArtSpring will be assisting performing artists in their creative process with the extension of the Creative/Technical Residency Program. This program offers theatre space and mentorship to help artists create new work, refine existing work, and be tour ready for the 2021-22 season.

Few theatres in B.C. are reopening at this time, but ArtSpring believes we can provide a safe and exciting experience for performers, exhibitors and audiences. It’s a cause for celebration on Salt Spring Island: Art springs back!

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