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Small Business, Tourism and Culture

B.C. Festival of the Arts gears up for Victoria

27/04/1999

VICTORIA - Nearly 950 emerging visual and performing artists from across the province will convene in Victoria May 23-30 for the 17th annual British Columbia Festival of the Arts.

The festival, Canada's largest multidiscipline arts event, will feature 300 visual arts exhibits, film and video screenings, indigenous arts presentations, drama and dance performances, literary readings, concerts and workshops.

"This event is a celebration of B.C.'s enormously talented artists and performers," said Small Business, Tourism and Culture Minister Ian Waddell. "It will raise awareness of the value of arts and culture and bring substantial economic benefits and increased tourism to Victoria."

The province, through the British Columbia Arts Council, is providing $750,000 for the event. Greater Victoria has given $96,000, and corporate sponsors and private donors have contributed nearly $100,000 to date. The event is expected to inject $6 million to $8 million into the local economy.

"Victoria, with its extensive and vibrant local arts scene, is a great choice for the festival and the entire community will benefit enormously from this program," said Lydia Kasianchuk, of Victoria, a member of the British Columbia Arts Council.

The festival will also feature 58 professional artists who will conduct workshops and demonstrations. These mentors fulfil the festival's goal of enhancing development of emerging artists. Singer-songwriter and Juno nominee Stephen Fearing, author and Governor General Award winner Nino Ricci and others will help expand the experiences and skills of participants.

"Hosting an event of this magnitude is a tremendous undertaking and Victoria looks forward to extending a warm and enthusiastic welcome to participants who are coming from across the province," said Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Gretchen Mann Brewin.

"This is an exciting event for Victoria, with competitions, workshops and conference sessions focussing on a wide variety of the arts. I predict Victorians will be attending in large numbers. This is truly something for everyone," said Steve Orcherton, MLA for Victoria-Hillside.

The B.C. Festival of the Arts is held in different B.C. communities each year. Artists from across the province are selected to participate through approximately 75 regional events and through calls for entry. The 1998 festival took place in Prince George; the 2000 festival is slated for Nelson.

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Gery Lemon, Media Relations Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture 250-953-4692

James Lam B.C. Festival of the Arts 920-4118