With the majority of the pandemic restrictions now lifted, many of the events and activities we’ve missed over the past few years are available to us all once again. It’s nice to see people returning to our local restaurants, sports activities ramping up, tournaments being planned, and our summer festivals (fingers-crossed) back on the calendar.
One of the sectors hardest hit by the necessary health restrictions was the Arts, particularly the performing arts community. That’s why it’s so important for us all to seek out every opportunity to support our local and visiting artisans when they schedule performances in the community; whether organized by Quesnel Live Arts (next event on April 23), by local groups and businesses, or by the Quesnel and District Community Arts Council.
I had the privilege to attend last week’s “Gallery of Honour” event organized by both the Quesnel and District Arts Council and the Quesnel Art Gallery and Gift Shop. The event had a two-fold purpose: to open a new art exhibit featuring two local artists, Sam Walters and Pat Hildebrandt; and to induct two new artisans into the Gallery of Honour. Both the Art Gallery and the Gallery of Honour are located at the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre.
The Gallery of Honour recognizes individuals “who have made significant contributions to the community through the Arts over the years” either in the domains of visual or performing arts, or in the areas of support, education, or advocacy.
This year two of Quesnel’s youth were inducted, both in the field of dance.
Larissa Munch, a member of the Nazko First Nation, was recognized for her leadership, advocacy, and performance of traditional dance. She graduated high school with honours and attended the University of British Columbia. Larissa has performed traditional dance at a great number of events, both locally and regionally, and is a strong advocate for her culture and a great role model for all of our youth.
Elledae Armstrong is also a local graduate who is currently attending the University of British Columbia. She has practiced and performed dance in multiple genres, including jazz, ballet, stage, modern, tap, contemporary, and musical theatre. It was noted during the presentation that Elledae is renowned for her particular talent of being able to quickly shift between genres within the same performance.
Both young women were recognized by the Arts Council for their outstanding leadership, youth mentorship, hard work and dedication that went beyond their craft, and their citizenship (overall contribution to the general community). It was a privilege to congratulate, on behalf of Quesnel City Council, both these young women for the well-deserved recognition they were receiving from the Arts Council.
Please take the time to drop into the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre to view the Gallery of Honour and to the Art Gallery to see its latest exhibit of local talent.
As we go about the community and participate in events, it’s important to continue to take precautions against the spread of the latest variant of the virus. Let’s respect the rights of our most vulnerable populations to also enjoy the restoration of these events by adhering to basic public health protocols: hand washing, minimizing contact, mask-wearing where appropriate. Let’s do our best to take care of each other as we transition back to normalcy.