COCHRANE— Celebrating the vibrant art scene in Town, the community gathered to celebrate creators for Cochrane Culture Days this weekend.
Guests were able to take in dancers, artists, film industry creatives and musicians at Cochrane Square, Centennial Plaza, The Lions Club Event Centre and on an artist studio drive on Saturday (Sept. 12) and Sunday (Sept. 13).
Banff-Airdrie MLA Peter Guthrie said it was wonderful to see the community gather together in a celebration of the arts and culture.
He added it was especially great to see Alberta Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Leela Aheer drop by on Sunday to watch the Stoney Nakoda Mini Thni show off a mix of contemporary and traditional Indigenous dances.
“I was really happy that this was going on this weekend,” Guthrie said. “I enjoyed being outside and interacting with people and seeing the dancers.”
Mayor Jeff Genung and Councillor Susan Flowers were on hand to greet Minister Aheer and the Stoney Nakoda Mini Thni dancers.
Genung said it was fabulous seeing Cochrane Culture Days take place because it provided an exciting festivity for the community in a year where many events have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.
“In COVID having something to do to get people out and outside and celebrate all of the cultures that we have in Cochrane and the talent and the volunteers and everybody it’s been great,” Genung said.
The event showed the resiliency of Cochranites, he said, and their ability to persevere and find unique and innovative ways to come together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flowers said it was great to see people out and about in the community checking out the different activities available during Culture Days.
“We saw some really great entertainment, music, dancing, you name it,” Flowers said with a grin. “It’s great to see people out in Cochrane with COVID social distancing but having a good time.”
Flowers added she appreciates the hard work volunteers put into making sure the weekend found success. They spent hours and hours securing grants and preparing for the weekend of free festivities, Flower said, and without their hard work the event would not have taken place.
Town of Cochrane arts and culture programmer Jola Muran said it was great to see such a large amount of artists in the community covering a diverse range of genres was incredible.
Muran commended the work of Cochrane Integrated Arts Society president Jane Kaczmer and other volunteers in ensuring the community had a reason to celebrate during COVID-19.
Muran praised Kaczmer’s ability to push a vision forward into a reality that the community could engage with.
“She deserves a lot of credit for pulling this event off,” Muran said.
Kaczmer said they hope to see the COVID-19 pandemic come to an end in time for next year’s celebration so they can go even bigger.
She added the weekend would have not been possible without support from Muran in organizing the Artist Studio Drive and the logistics of the weekend.
“This year the fact that there aren’t large audiences is a good thing that’s really what we want. People are standing and listening in and moving on,” Kaczmer said. “Hopefully next year when we can worry less than more people will actually come out and take part.”
The pandemic has deeply impacted the performing artists in the community, she said, and it was great to provide a platform for them to play outside for audiences.
She estimates at least 500 people dropped in and watched some of the performances at the different stages during Culture Days.
“I’m just so appreciative of all the people who helped out, all the volunteers, all the performers and the artists who wanted to get out and show their craft and be involved,” Kaczmer said. “It was great.”
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