Arts & culture play an outsize role in many rural and First Nations communities in British Columbia, and across Canada. Rural community theatres and choirs provide year-around entertainment and serve as social gathering vehicles, helping break down isolation and lift spirits. Drumming circles and dance groups help keep Aboriginal traditions and beliefs alive, while providing a way of sharing cultural knowledge with non-Aboriginal neighbours. Museums and galleries afford rural and First Nations artists and artisans with an opportunity to showcase their talents, for residents and visitors alike.
Arts & culture also make a significant economic contributions in many rural communities. Annual events the like Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, Tiny Lights Festival, Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, Arts Wells, and the Salmon Arm Rhythm & Blues Festival pump a great deal of money into local economies, creating jobs, filling hotels, motels, and campgrounds, and providing local restaurants and merchants with much-needed business.
Arts & culture serve another important service for rural communities as well. There is evidence to suggest the presence of “cultural amenities” is one of the most important reasons former-urbanites give when they explain why they are considering a move to a small town.
You will find useful, occasionally inspirational material here on the importance of rural arts & culture, and how some communities have used the arts to revitalize their economies. As with all sectors, the Covid-19 pandemic has and will continue to have a significant impact on rural arts & culture. We will strive to provide information and examples of how rural arts & cultural organizations are evolving to remain vibrant and relevant in the face of often wrenching change.