A fridge full of joie de vivre — and quirkiness 

On the shelves with the arts council's Doti Niedermayer

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If arts and culture at Whistler has a face — especially Whistler Arts Council — it's the bright and direct face of Doti Niedermayer.

For the past decade, Doti (rhymes with "roti") has brought her huge passion for, and understanding of, arts and culture and its importance to her job as the arts council's executive director. When she's not behind the scenes keeping art at Whistler's heart in her no-nonsense way, good chance you've seen her at one of the council's many events, for she's the firebrand driving ArtWalk, Bizarre Bazaar, art workshops and more, including the newest fundraiser, Artists in Wonderland.

Given all that plus her healthy social life, exercise regime and European sensibilities — Doti grew up in Munich before her dad, a sculptor, packed up the family and hauled them across Canada in a VW van in 1969; then she lived in Europe on her own for 11 years — it's no surprise that what's in her fridge is as lively, to-the-point and unorthodox as she is.

First, her fridge, a black apartment-sized Kenmore, has so little in it she's able to do an inventory while sitting in her office at Millennium Place. Only a quick on-site follow-up is needed to supplement details.

"I always buy as I go," says Doti. "I'm very European in that way. First of all, I don't know how people know what they're going to eat next Wednesday because I don't even know what I'm doing tomorrow.

"Why would I buy food now when it could just rot, because my life is not that structured? So I buy food on the way home when I know what I want to eat."

Ergo we find a very non-grocery surprise on the first shelf of her little fridge that sits in the open kitchen/living room of the "very 1980s" condo she bought in Powder View — a tree house, she calls it, since it looks out over the forest above Whistler Mountain's gondola barn.

"This is where I get embarrassed because the top shelf of my fridge looks like I'm going to have a party and I'm not," she laughs. "It's just there in case people come over."

It's a bar! There's a beautiful bottle of Lambic Peche Belgian Beer; Smirnoff vodka for martinis; and a delicious, inexpensive dessert wine, Moscato d'Asti, that owner Andre Saint Jacques turned her onto at Bearfoot Bistro, and an equally good, inexpensive white wine, Calona Vineyard's Sovereign Opal, that local artist, Arne Guttman, recommended when she ran into him at work at the BC liquor store. ("That Arne knows his wine," notes Doti, "so don't judge an artist by his day job. They're not all out there drinking cheap beer at some artist's studio!").


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