Sandra Greenaway creates beautiful designs with fabric, which will be featured in a window at Imagine That! in downtown Duncan in August. (submitted)

Arts & Entertainment column: Arts camps for kids, new at Imagine That!, viral online choir

A few of the things going on in Cowichan’s arts community

As we head into August, several new things are coming our way from the Cowichan arts community.

First up, for those looking for something art-related for the kids to do in August the Cowichan Valley Arts Council, in partnership with the CVRD, is running three arts camps.

There are two sessions of Art Fanatics, the first running from Aug. 4 to 7 at $140, and the second running from Aug. 24-28 at $175.

What’s on the agenda? From CVAC: “The week’s activities will be based on drawing, painting, 3D collage, as well as other fun activities. Led by experienced artists throughout, students will work on new activities each day to produce their own masterpieces. Opportunities for fresh air and exercise will be built into each day. Each week will have a different selection of items to make.”

This camp is for children ages six to 11.

There will also be a performing arts camp from Aug. 10 to 14 at $175.

This one is for children ages eight and up. CVAC says, “Kids experience production of a play from start to finish. Each camper will be given a part in the production, then [will] be instructed on how best to play their character and/or do the necessary behind the scenes work. Together the students will create the set and costumes for the production. The production will be performed the final afternoon of the camp (online). Opportunities for fresh air and exercise will be built into each day.”

Leaders for these camps will be CVAC summer students Taylor McClement from Youbou and Victoria Blouin from Duncan, who are studying fin arts in university. Both are experienced creative camp organizers, says CVAC.

To register, go to reccowichan.ca

•••

For people of all ages Imagine That! in downtown Duncan is offering two new tasty window displays for perusal in August.

First up is “Two Taylors, Two Perspectives”, featuring the work of mother and daughter artists duo Lorraine and Tracy Taylor.

According to Imagine That!, each brings a “unique point of view as well as choices in media. Lorraine’s vibrant hand-painted silk scarves and garments are one of a kind. She employs a variety of techniques using paints and dyes to create distinctive work.”

“It’s the creative outlet that gives me endless challenges and satisfies my need to create something beautiful,” Lorraine says.

“Tracy re-invents with upcycled pieces including painted and decoupaged vintage side tables; a granny-punk, candle-powered, floor-stand chandelier, and a red-and-white wall hanging made from a vintage quilt and mother-of-pearl buttons,” organizers said.

Also working in fabric is Sandra Greenaway, who presents here “Summer Collection”.

Says the gallery: “Sandra’s creations are a blend of contemporary and vintage fabrics, piecing techniques, an artful eye, and couture sewing.

“She is inspired by traditional Japanese kimono design to create garments with elements of that tradition — simple lines, quilting, piecing of fabrics, and creative use of colour and texture.

“It is the fabric — its beautiful colours, exotic motifs and quality of weave — that attracts us. Clothing as an art form is more relevant today than ever. With the availability of mass-produced products in the world, we long for things unique and personal.”

•••

With more than a million views on YouTube so far, Eric Whitacre’s virtual choir 6 performing Sing Gently has gone viral, and a Duncan woman is part of the phenomenon.

Makiko Johnston reached out this week to let us know about her experience with the virtual choir, created with 17,572 people from 129 countries while in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Eric Whitacre is a Grammy winning American composer and this is his sixth virtual choir. It grew from 185 singers to this most recent one I was part of with 17,572 singers from 129 countries. It was premiered a week ago and I can’t be more pleased to hear this beautiful music,” Johnston said. “In one week, it has had over one million views. If the recent pandemic has taught me anything, it is that we are the authors of our own joys despite our circumstances and we live to seek deeply meaningful human connections. As an amateur singer and a lifelong lover of choral music, I found these meaningful moments in the most unlikely place — online with 17,572 strangers while singing alone in my bathroom at 5:30 a.m. This pandemic has affected the performing arts community and artists everywhere had to find different ways to keep playing music. Music brings people together and there’s been a sense of grief and loss when the pandemic took it all away. I’m filled with so much joy to have been able to take part in this amazing project. I do hope the song will give you hope, solace and peace we desperately need in the world today.”

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Tracy Taylor upcycles all kinds of vintage finds. Her work will be featured in a window at Imagine That! in downtown Duncan in August. (submitted)

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