Tuesday, May 28, 2024
May 28, 2024

Editorial: What a party!

The next time a major milestone needs to be celebrated, we know where to look for inspiration. 

The ArtSpring 25th Anniversary Festival was a wildly successful five-day extravaganza highlighting the past, present and future of arts and culture on Salt Spring Island, attracting an estimated 2,000 people and 100 volunteers. 

Events largely featured local artisans and performers from a total of 290, with an intentional community focus to the multi-faceted program. Participation by the Jim Cuddy Band for two sold-out concerts, with a second show added after tickets to the first were swallowed within an hour, had extra poignancy. Not only were the concerts stellar in themselves, and fundraisers for ArtSpring, but Cuddy’s former band, Blue Rodeo, had played on Salt Spring as part of the Festival of the Arts way back in 1994, at another sold-out endeavour that raised funds for the original ArtSpring dream. 

Another visitor was renowned arts commentator Max Wyman, the guest in a Salt Spring Forum talked called Why, for Whom, and How Much Do the Arts Matter?

Wyman shared the central theme of his new book — The Compassionate Imagination: How the Arts are Central to a Functioning Democracy — describing with passion how support for and participation in the arts was fundamental to healing the polarization and hatred flourishing in our world at present. He argued that the arts “make us more considerate, more thoughtful, more receptive, more open, more generous, more compassionate. I think that’s the way that we would get a better world.” 

Wyman was in the audience for the ArtSpring festival’s opening night performance on April 17 and couldn’t have been more delighted and moved by the whole event, noting the multiple choirs’ mass singing of the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love among several highlights. He said he would like to take Salt Spring Island with him wherever he goes, because it is “the ideal example of how the arts are integrated into the community . . . If you could take this little nugget and explode it into society and have it everywhere, you’d have a transformed world.”

It can be easy to take Salt Spring’s artistic and cultural richness for granted, but hopefully the ArtSpring celebration gave us a rekindled appreciation for our arts centre, the community it has served for the past 25 years, and arts’ positive impact in the world.

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