From cardboard boxes to 2010 showcase 

The Whistler Arts Council celebrates 25 years with a storytelling gathering and dinner

What: Our Whistler: Honouring our History

When: Saturday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m.

Where: Four Seasons Resort

Tickets: $125

Joan Richoz remembers when the Whistler Arts Council was nothing more than a series of cardboard boxes passed on from one board member to another 25 years ago.

“We had no office until 1999,” Richoz said. “Until then, if you were president, then you got a certain file box, and if you were the treasurer, than you had all the financial files and if you were the secretary, you had all the minutes.”

One year, a dog chewed up the treasurer’s cardboard box including all the financial statements.

Along with not getting audited for the missing, dog-eaten box, Whistler Arts Council members have a lot to celebrate for their 25 th anniversary, which includes programming, people and most importantly stories that have culminated over the years.

Ten storytellers will relay their yarns to celebrate the council’s quarter of a century milestone with a storytelling gathering called Our Whistler: Honouring our History on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Four Seasons Resort.

“We are really celebrating our accomplishments and dedication of everyone involved,” she said. “When you look back and see everything that has been done, it’s pretty amazing.”

Story tellers include Brian Brown, One of Whistler’s original surveyors; Colin Pitt Taylor, Whistler resident of almost 40 years; Florence Petersen, friend to Myrtle Philip; Garry Watson, one of Whistler’s first councilors; Hugh Smythe, 1966 lift operator; John Hetherington, one of Whistler’s original heli-skiing guides; Lynn Mathews, original marketing staff for then Whistler Mountain; Marika Richoz, born and raised Whistlerite; Stephen Vogler, Whistler historian and author; Terry “Toulouse” Spence, national team member for 25 years; and Drew Meredith, former Whistler mayor.

While the Whistler Arts Council celebrates 25 years of supporting and cultivating arts and culture in the Sea to Sky corridor, Joan Richoz will celebrate 24 years of involvement with the council — 23 of them as a board member and now current chair.

She watched the registered charity grow from roaming cardboard boxes to a Resort Municipality of Whistler trailer that shared storage space with the library and museum to a building donated by the Whistler Centre for Business and Arts to its current residence behind Marketplace.

For years, only volunteers ran the organization. There was no governance. All energies were spent on mounting events.

“We were a hands on board that organized and volunteered for a lot of events,” Richoz said. “We didn’t have any staff. Things like policy don’t get done until you have a permanent staff.”

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