The first 50th Parallel Art and Earth Festival is officially scheduled to culminate with the long-standing Fall Festival at Haig-Brown House this September. Image courtesy Campbell River Arts Council

50th Parallel Art and Earth Festival coming this fall to Campbell River

Event looks to ‘create an appreciation for the beauty and significance of our natural environment’

He’s been dropping hints about it for the past few months, and now, Campbell River Arts Council executive director Ken Blackburn has officially announced the first 50th Parallel Art and Earth Festival coming this fall.

Blackburn presented to city council this week with an outline of what’s already lined up for the Sept. 20-22 weekend – culminating with the annual Fall Festival at Haig-Brown House – what’s still in planning stages and what he hopes the event will do for the community.

“I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anybody that we face some fairly significant challenges – not just as a community, but in general, as people – with some of the environmental situations that are coming up and that we’re currently facing,” Blackburn says. “The youth seem to have picked it up and are becoming a strong voice for environmental activism, which is a wonderful thing to see, but in a sense, that should be inspiring the rest of us to question ‘what can we do?’”

Instead, “the rest of us,” Blackburn says, are starting to experience “environmental fatigue, or what could be called green fatigue, where people are starting to tune it out. That’s why it’s incumbent upon us to try to find innovative and creative ways to keep the discussion alive.

“Every sector has to take responsibility and find innovative ways to provide entry points for education and discussion around environmental issues,” he continues. “No one sector can do it alone, whether that’s science or engineering or economics or politics or social services. We’re all in this together.”

But the arts sector, in particular, can be a conduit into the discussion in partnership with those other sectors and resources that the community has.

“Campbell River is perfectly poised to take the lead on this discussion of how mystical, amazing and profound our natural environment is and the arts are a way to help create that appreciation within the public. It’s well documented that people preserve and protect that which they respect and appreciate, and art has an ability to create an appreciation for the beauty and significance of our natural environment.”

One of the weekend’s featured artists will be Vancouver-based Sharon Kallis, who creates sculpture and installation works using invasive species materials that have been pulled from the environment. She will be teaming up with Greenways Land trust to create works of art out at the Haig-Brown House using locally-pulled invasive species such as scotch broom and giant hogweed.

Local sculptor Alex Whitcombe of Drifted Creations will be setting up shop in the newly-opened Walter Morgan Studio – currently under renovation next to the Sybil Andrews Cottage in Willow Point – for public driftwood sculpture workshops.

There will also be a series of environmental films screening at the Museum at Campbell River, live performances at Spirit Square and Rivercity Stage, underwater photography exhibits, discussions on recycling and conservation practices, plein-air painting along the Seawalk and a mountain biking kids event in the Beaver Lodge Lands in partnership with Greenways Land Trust and Swicked Cycles.

The weekend’s event will span the entire community, Blackburn says, from north to south, east to west, oceans to mountains, riverbanks to beaches and forests to skies. Likewise, it will feature a similar breadth of arts, from painting to sculpture, photography to dance, poetry to filmmaking and more.

Council seemed impressed with the idea, but wanted to know what it would cost people to attend the various events and whether it would be an annual thing or just a one-off.

Blackburn confirmed that all of the scheduled events would be free (besides some of the ones being offered alongside the official festival offerings by local tourism operators and businesses), but whether it becomes a recurring celebration – and whether it will remain in September – will depend on how the first one goes.

“This is an issue that has to have no barriers for participation,” Blackburn says, “so all the events will be offered free of charge.”

For more information on the festival or to see how you or your organization can partner up and get involved or become a sponsor of the event, contact Blackburn directly at 250-923-0213 or by email at arts.council@crarts.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Vancouver Island teacher has started a petition imploring B.C. Premier John Horgan to close provincial borders to non-essential travel and enforce stricter quarantine measures for travellers. (B.C. government)
Teacher launches petition for B.C. to close provincial border, impose stricter quarantine

Province says what works elsewhere may not work here as they look into legalities of such actions

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Campbell River area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Shawn Decaire and Audrey Wilson say a few words at the opening ceremonies for Kwesa Place. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Kwesa Place community gathering space opened in downtown Campbell River

Showers, snacks, coffee and laundry all available for those in need

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Most Read