Kingston takes a trip around the world with Culture Days

This weekend’s arts and culture festival offers 25 different events

From Brampton Creative Cultural Exchance 2017 as part of Culture Days.
Photo by Kevin Jones from Culture Days website

If you want to see a wide array of art from multiple cultural backgrounds, there’s no need to leave the city this weekend. It can all be found in the heart of Kingston.

From Sept. 27 to 29, the Kingston Arts Council will host Culture Days, a national event celebrating arts and culture through accessible events and programming around Canada.

For the last 10 years, Culture Days has asked Canadian citizens to plan and host events that will engage citizens in the arts, display and celebrate a variety of cultures, and harness creativity in accessible ways. Anyone can host—all you have to do is register on the Culture Days website.

Every event is free, with a suggested “pay what you can” donation. This weekend, Kingston will host 25 events around the city.

The weekend will kick off with an Afrisa Dance workshop on Friday evening, where participants can dance to modern West African music and explore the origins of movements from traditional Ghanaian dance.

From Canada’s west coast all the way to its east, Canadian citizens will simultaneously engage in other cultural celebrations and classes in their own towns.

“[Culture Days] underlines the importance of the arts, the landscape of the city, and the cultural life of Kingston,” Laura Chaignon, programming and communications coordinator at Kingston Arts Council, told The Journal in an interview.

This year’s event theme is mental health and wellbeing. The festival strives to emphasize and protect the relationship between wellness and the arts.

“This year, we think about a more holistic version of what wellbeing means,” said Chaignon.

Furthermore, as the Ontario government continues to cut funding for the arts, Culture Days’ team hopes to garner respect for the arts, prove its necessity, and campaign against these funding cuts.

While the Tett Centre is a visual hub for the weekend, hosting art exhibitions, paint gatherings, and arts and crafts for kids, other spaces will host events for alternate purposes. “See for Yourself” is a non-visual tour around the Agnes Etherington Art Centre’s exhibition Rembrandt Emerges. The event will host sighted, partially-sighted, and blind visitors.

The Kingston Arts Council is a non-profit organization that exists to support the arts community. Although each host is in charge of their own event, the Council’s role is to find and facilitate organizers and volunteers, help people register, and ensure events run smoothly.

Arts Council staff leverage their close relationship with local artists to put on an eclectic and diverse festival each year. They’re the first line of contact between the artist and their funding opportunities and challenges.

While Friday and Saturday’s events are scattered around the city, Sunday’s festivities all take place in the Tett Centre on a drop-in basis, where participants can stop by to learn about modern painting, Indigenous drumming, pottery, yarn, singing, and more.

Additionally, both Saturday and Sunday’s events will feature limited-space cyanotype printing workshops with artist Anna Soper.

Across Canada, Culture Days is focused on arts, culture, and fun for people of all backgrounds, abilities, ages, and cultures. It’s free, family-friendly, and requires no prior artistic experience.

Thanks to the annual festival, if you want to experience a vast range of cultural arts this weekend, the furthest you need to travel is downtown.

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