Whistler Arts Council to hold open forum 

First public discussion of art in Whistler scheduled for Feb. 23

The Whistler Community Arts Council has scheduled its first open forum for Feb. 23, and member of the community and artists are encouraged to come out and voice their opinions.

The meeting will be held at the Delta Whistler Resort on Feb. 23, from 4:30 p.m. onwards.

"Anyone who is interested in giving feedback is greatly encouraged to come to the meeting, and obviously with the option of an Olympic bid in Whistler many ideas are being tossed around," says Gavin Livingstone, a long-term council member and acrylics artist.

Livingstone, hopes to see more facilities available for children’s art projects and a new gallery, but the options remain wide open at this point.

"We really want to encourage people to come up and speak now about their thoughts, rather than later," says John Hewson, co-chair. "The transition to becoming an umbrella arts organization is a massive task, as we are interested in gathering input from the community," he adds.

Under its new role as the umbrella organization for the arts in Whistler, the Whistler Community Arts Council will set up roundtable discussions at the forum. A member of the council will sit at each table, as attendees discuss four key questions proposed by the council.

Dixx Milstein is the current chair of the Whistler Community Arts Council, with Hewson as vice-chair. Members for 2001-2002 also include Sharon Broatch, Dean Cote, Aileen Durie, Pat Gemmill, Alex Kleinman, Bob Kusch, Livingstone, Dawna Milstein, Kim Muller, Leanna Rathkelly, Joan Richoz, Stephanie Sloan, and Gwen Young.

There will also be a brief outline of the new strategic plan for 2002-2003, which at this time includes the hiring of an executive director. The plan was developed with the help of Legacy Heritage consultants and local artists, who worked with municipal staff and council to develop objectives.

Their arts council’s vision is to provide an environment where the arts can flourish, provide quality art programs that encourage children and families, and the continued sustainability of local artists. The arts council aims to develop Whistler as a unique model for arts and culture in a resort community.

Programs sponsored by the arts council include Artrageous, Bizarre Bazaar, the Whistler Children’s Art Festival and the continuing Performance Series at Millennium Place theatre that includes acts like comedian Shannan Calcutt on Jan. 25.

The Missoula Children’s Festival has also been brought to Whistler by the arts council to showcase theatre arts instruction for young people. The Whistler Arts Experience has become an annual festival, held at Chateau Whistler, Ross Rebagliatti park and the Whistler Conference Centre, in conjunction with Tourism Whistler and local artists.

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