Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)

Arts and Entertainment column: Written word, spoken word, and arts funding

What’s going on in the Cowichan Valley arts community

The beauty of the written word will be on full display at the Portals gallery in Duncan from April 12 to 16.

The Letter Crafting Exhibit will feature work by the Warmland Calligraphers, who have turned letters into works of art.

It is described as “new works from members of an accomplished Cowichan Valley art group”, and judging by previous exhibits this is no exaggeration.

The exhibit will be in the Annex, and the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Music and the spoken word are once again coming together for children five to eight years old to enjoy listening to stories.

Following the success of children’s’ stories released by the Vakka Studio Society last fall, musician Thomas Kuecks and narrator Paula Foot have compiled a new collection of magical Moments with Miss Paula on their latest streaming release, subtitled Spring and Summer, says a press release about the album.

“Paula has told these stories over many years to her kindergarten and Grade 1 and 2 students, and is delighted to now be able to reach an audience she will never meet,” the release says.

Her grandson, four-year-old Bellamy Kuecks, who could be heard introducing the Fall and Winterstories, also makes another appearance helping his dad Thomas and Nanna Paula with Spring and Summer.

“Once again, courage, curiosity and kindness are the building blocks of these stories for young adventurers. A rooster who stops a thief, a hare who saves a life, a boy who wants to know where the sun sleeps, a prince journeying to find his lost brothers; a worm who wants to know why it was born, a girl who helps a gnome; these are the archetypal tales that we can hear over and over again,” the release describes.

Featured stories include The Pancake Mill, Little Half Chick, An Easter Story, The Hare, Daiseye and Worm, The Fairy Weaver, and Whitsun Story.

The album is available online here: https://songwhip.com/moments-with-miss-paula/stories-for-spring-and-summer

Kuecks orchestrates the Vaka Studio recording and plays the background music on flute and guitar. Bellamy introduces the stories.

Foot is a highly respected teacher and storyteller who taught for over three decades in the Cowichan Valley at Sunrise Waldorf School and Evergreen Independent School.

The album is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music and other online streaming services and the whole year in two CDs can be found at The Waldorf Store and Wishes in Duncan, as well as at Sunrise and Evergreen schools.

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Arts and culture organizations in the Cowichan Valley got some good news last week with an announcement from the provincial government that additional funding to try to offset some of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on these industries.

“I know how difficult this past year has been for artists, without being able to connect with people in our communities,” said Melanie Mark, minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Our government is working with arts leaders and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer to plan a safe return, because we know how important art is for our mental health and well-being. In the meantime, we are stepping up and providing an additional $16 million in supports to people, arts organizations and venues.”

The money includes $14 million in a one-time supplement for organizations, and $2 million to help 47 organizations improve their existing spaces.

Among the Cowichan Valley recipients of the supplement are the B.C. Forest Museum, Chemainus Theatre Festival, Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society, the Cowichan Folk Guild, the Cowichan South Arts Guild, the Cowichan Valley Arts Council, the Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives, the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery Society, the Koksilah Music Festival Society, and the Palm Court Light Orchestra.

The Cowichan South Arts Guild will also receive $19,000 from the infrastructure fund.

Arts and Entertainment