Creating Whistler’s gift 

If you're a local artist with a knack for capturing the essence of Whistler's beloved black bears, the municipality may have a project for you.

With the Olympics just around the corner, the Resort Municipality of Whistler is looking for an artist, preferably one from the Sea to Sky area, to create a new piece of artwork - in this case, an original painting of a black bear - which will be added to the municipal art collection, and as part of Whistler's ceremonial gift. They've selected the black bear as a subject because of the animal's regional significance and "the visitor's typical fascination with Whistler's bears."

A limited series of prints and postcards will be created for the RMOW's gift program, and the image may also be used as a book cover or as part of a calendar program. While the RMOW will retain copyright and intellectual rights to the work, the artist will be allowed to include the image in their portfolio.

The value of the commission is $3,500. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, July 28. For more information on the opportunity, contact Heather Aspden at haspden@whistler.ca .

Chill on the Hill with The Stills

This weekend, Whistler Blackcomb plays host to a special, free party put on by the folks at Nestea.

Dubbed Chill on the Hill, this one-day event features a concert by Montreal rockers the Stills and the punk rock stylings of Protest the Hero, set against a backdrop of snowboarding on a specially-created terrain park, and beach volleyball.

Best of all, the event, which starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, is free if you're a season pass holder (the only expense is a lift ticket). Don't have a pass? Visit Whistler Blackcomb's website to snag a voucher for $5 off your ticket.

A literary masterpiece

The community's book club, Whistler Reads, is getting in on the artistic action this summer with an event on Thursday, July 30.

They're hosting a panel discussion of Sarah Thornton's book, Seven Days in the Art World , which explores the world of contemporary art from the perspective of collectors, artists, curators, and the realm of art fairs and auctions. Panelists for the discussion include Susan Almrud, an art consultant, Stephanie Friedrich, Chapter Director of the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Michella Frosch of Vancouver Biennal, Reid Shier, Director of Presentation Gallery, and Wendy Wacko, nationally renowned artist and owner of Mountain Galleries in Whistler, Banff and Jasper. Anyone interested in attending the discussion should e-mail wr@bookbuffet.com to be added to the guest list.

Whistler Reads has also received approval from Whistler Public Library to create a special book art sculpture to complement this panel discussion and the Whistler Arts Council's annual ArtWalk activities. Organizers are still collecting book donations from literary lovers (donations can be made at the book bin inside the WPL entry). Sandy Ryan of Whistler Welding is welding steel lattice scaffolding into a fountain-like shape as a basic structure to shingle open books onto. Anyone interested in helping assemble the structure can e-mail paulas@bookbuffet.com .

The completed piece will remain on display in the entry of the WPL for the summer, and be auctioned off afterwards, with proceeds going towards future Whistler Reads and WPL events.

Workshopping with the best

Whistler area writers who are interested in perfecting their works of fiction and non-fiction are urged to book one of the few remaining spots in the Vicious Circle's annual writing residency program.

This year, the program features two writers in residence: Wayne Grady, author of Tree, Bringing Back the Dodo and The Bone Museum , and Merilyn Simonds, author of The Convict Lover , the short story collection The Lion in the Room Next Door , and The Holding . Grady and Simonds will work with a group of 10 writers apiece throughout September, workshopping fiction and non-fiction with a series of one-on-one sessions and group lectures on the craft.

Anyone interested in participating in the program, which costs $250, must submit a short synopsis of their work to be developed during the residency, plus a manuscript, by Monday, Aug. 10. There are only seven spots left.

For more information, visit www.theviciouscircle.ca .

Summer of Funny deadline moved back

Pique Newsmagazine's Summer of Funny writing contest is well underway and great submissions are already coming in. However, given the late announcement of the contest, we've decided to move the deadline date back a month to give people more time to prepare. The new deadline is Friday, Aug. 28, with the winning submissions running in our Labour Day issue.

Pique is accepting humorous short stories, scripts, long format jokes and poems, and will be giving $400 in prize money to the top submissions. Pique's editorial staff will determine the winners, with a maximum prize of $250 for an outstanding submission.

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