Although the big event is still six years away from happening, the excitement for the 2010 Olympic Games is beginning to grow in Squamish.
Spearheading the movement are a collaboration of artists who have developed a unique event that they hope will become a feature showpiece for art in the community leading up to the Games.
The Select Committee on the Arts, in conjunction with a community-based working group, have developed Wild at Art, Squamish's Winter Arts Festival. The newly-formed festival celebrates the overwhelming community support and enthusiasm for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and will feature live music, dance and visual arts.
Wild at Art will take place on Saturday, Feb. 28 in downtown Squamish from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free."We hope to make this an annual February event to celebrate the cultural diversity and history of the corridor region as we look ahead to the Sea to Sky Games," said Mayor Ian Sutherland.
Cleveland Avenue will be closed all day to host the outdoor street festival that will centre around the mainstage tent. In addition, an entire storefront space (the former Stedman's store) will house over 20 artist displays. Local restaurants will feature ethnic foods and two community art galleries will feature musical artists performances.
"The goal of Wild at Art is to begin the process of showcasing our local artists and creating the basis for cultural tourism in Squamish," said event organizer and District of Squamish councillor Sonja Lebans.
"We're interested in putting Squamish's best foot forward to get known as a destination for arts and culture."
The event was spearheaded by the District's Select Committee on the Arts, which is comprised of local artists and individuals interested in the promotion of all the arts, culture, history and ethnicity that make Squamish a unique community in British Columbia.
The event is geared toward a full-blown celebration of Squamish's involvement in the Olympic Games, as the Heart of 2010.
"This is the first time we've done a street festival, so we just want everyone to celebrate the fact that we're getting the Olympics and that Squamish has so much to offer in arts, culture and entertainment," said Lebans. "It's a huge amount of work and involves many, many people, but the people of Squamish always step up to the plate and get involved. It's beginning small and it's only going to grow."
The people of Squamish can expect a carnival-like atmosphere at Wild at Art, with Cleveland Avenue getting a one-day facelift complete with a balloon archway, street performers, a musical mainstage and non-stop entertainment throughout the day. Musicians will play at the Pause Café, Newport Gallery and Nothing Finer with music from the performers being pumped out into the street. Everything from classical to rock 'n roll to celtic will be featured.
Although Wild at Art will be a one-day celebration for 2004, future plans call for month-long events to coincide with the opening and closing dates of the Winter Olympics. Whistler has plans to host a cabaret on Feb. 12, 2010, the opening day of the Olympics, whereas Wild at Art will party in the street on Feb. 28, the last day of the Games.
To showcase the ethnic diversity of our community, the event will highlight singing, dancing and drumming members of the First Nations community, Sikh dancers, the Japanese dojo performing a Kendo demonstration as well as music from the Black Tusk Caledonia Pipe Band.
In the future, Lebans expects Wild at Art to plan more arts and culture-oriented events, and to integrate their presence into long-standing events like Squamish Days Loggers Sports and the Test of Metal.