Outdoor dance performance 

Whistler Arts Council receives $100,000 to produce original work for 2010 Olympic Arts Festival

Whistler’s landscape will be celebrated through an outdoor dance performance thanks to funding building the Cultural Olympiad — an arts festival leading up to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Arts Partners in Creative Development (a partnership of the provincial government, City of Vancouver, Canada Council for the Arts, Vancouver Foundation, VANOC and 2010 Legacies Now) awarded $1.7 million in funding to 24 B.C. arts organizations last week. Whistler was one of the beneficiaries.

“This is an incredibly exciting development for the Whistler Arts Council – the most ambitious project we have ever undertaken,” said Doti Niedermayer, Whistler Arts Council executive director. “We are thrilled to have such a vibrant team of artists to work with us in portraying the values of our community in such an innovative way.”

The multi-disciplinary work, entitled Inspired by Place, will be composed by professional artists who will lead community groups to develop an original work that will be performed as part of the Olympic Arts Festival and the Whistler Live Sites program.

Aerial choreographer Julia Taffe of Aeriosa Dance will lead the $100,000 adventure. The former Whistler resident and backcountry mountaineer will also work with contemporary aboriginal dancer Michelle Olson, composer Francois Houle and project designer Tim Matheson.

The team will perform an outdoor artistic interpretation of athletic achievement in the natural environment, accompanied by the sounds of primal and evocative music involving professional musicians and a regional youth choir.

Lighting and media technology will draw the surrounding environment into the presentation arena with inspiring images of wilderness dance in Whistler’s pristine backcountry.

“This enables us to accomplish two goals,” said Niedermayer. “The first is to present a professional work that conveys a unique story of the values and heritage of Whistler… and the second is to build local capacity of our own artists, and to showcase them alongside visiting professionals.”

Inspired by Place was only one of many projects benefiting from this year’s round of funding from Arts Partners in Creative Development; the organization will invest $6.5 million in arts over three years.

Grants were also given to the Prince George Regional Art Gallery Association to commission Peter von Tiesenhausen to create a bronze sculpture, The Vancouver Art Gallery to commission an installation by artist Reece Terris, Axis Theatre to produce a production of Don Quixote, and the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society to create a musical piece called Ice Hockey: Canada vs. Sweden, among others.

Arts and cultural organizations interested in applying for the next round of funding can visit www.vancouver2010.com for a Request for Proposals form.

Organizations interested in co-producing or co-presenting an event, exhibition or installation in the Sea to Sky Corridor or Lower Mainland should be in operation for a minimum of two years and must have a history of presenting professional arts and cultural events in public context.

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