Music In The Park always draws packed crowds to the Waterwheel Park Bandshell in Chemainus. This year’s series of concerts could be in jeopardy if the COVID-19 crisis drags on for several months. (Photo by Art Carlyle)

Cultural Arts Society looking to create virtual venues during pandemic

Organization hopes to still showcase region’s artists online

The Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society is cancelling music performances and gallery events in a bid to “flatten the COVID-19 pandemic curve.” But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and the organization is looking to showcase the region’s artists online.

CVCAS Chair Bev Knight said the decision was difficult but necessary. “We are a 100 per cent volunteer-run organization,” she explained. “Many of us are approaching our elderly years and others have compromised health concerns. So, too, are many of those who attend the Rainforest Arts Gallery, our dances and other events.

“We are taking the advice of B.C.’s health experts on avoiding mass events and practicing social distancing. The coming weeks will be a new experience for all of us, but we will get through it together.”

The Rainforest Arts Gallery at 9781 Willow St. closed effective Sunday, March 15. The bi-monthly Song Circle event at the Chemainus Legion Hall is cancelled until further notice. Other cancelled events include the open stage talent show and a May 2 dance.

Knight said CVCAS will keep followers updated on its web site and social media pages.

“It’s too soon to make announcements about our great Music in the Park events this summer,” she said. “But in the meantime we plan to do our best to keep folks entertained and informed. The best way for everyone to stay in touch is to sign up for our digital newsletters at www.cvcas.com.”

During the pandemic, the CVCAS wants to keep Chemainus Valley artists, musicians, writers, dancers and other creative spirits in the public eye. “We hope to share representative samplings of their work via the internet,” Knight said.

For example, visual artists’ paintings and sculptures may be photographed and shared online; poets and creative writers may do readings; dramatists and dancers may produce video excerpts from plays and dance routines.

“If this type of showcasing can be achieved, while still meeting the social-distancing requirements health officials are calling for, we’d like to share as best we can the creative talents of our arts community,” Knight said.

Updates on this initiative will also be posted in the CVCAS’s newsletter and on its Facebook page.

Contact Craig-spence@shaw.ca.

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