Year in Review: Sculpturewalk’s Barrett pleased with progress

January 2013 marked first anniversary of director's involvement

Poet Shane Koyczan was a popular attraction at the November Sculpturewalk Gala held at Element Club Bar Grill.

January is a great time for anniversaries and along with all the other milestones being observed in the post-festive season is one of particular interest to the city’s artistic community.

It was January 2012 when Joy Barrett was formally welcomed as the executive director of the Castlegar Sculpturewalk program.

In the time that has whisked by, the effort which has enhanced Castlegar’s position on the cultural landscape has grown to impressive new heights. Continent-wide attention is being attracted to the “crossroads” community and everyone here is benefitting from it.

In just a few years the foundations for a prestigious reputation have been laid and the future is looking positive.

“It’s been a wonderful year,” Barrett told the Castlegar News on January 7. “I was very excited to come on board Sculpturewalk. It was great working under the tutelage of the founding member Pat Field and to learn from his experience and expertise.”

Field’s energy and vision were instrumental in getting the idea from the planning stages to tangible reality. It was in 2012 that the artist/organizer/promoter stepped aside, making way for the very qualified Barrett, who doubles as Cultural Development Officer with the City of Nelson.

Having reached the plateau of 30 artists for the current edition of Sculpturewalk, the prevailing sentiment is that further growth is not a priority for the program at this time.

Consolidation and quality are concepts being welcomed.

“I would say my favourite part of the job is working with the artists,” the director related. “We’re fortunate in the Kootenays, the Castlegar region in particular, to have so many artists and artisans who are creating such amazing pieces of work… that we don’t have to go that far afield to find the quality we’re looking for.

 

MAYOR HAS POSITIVE OUTLOOK ON WESTJET QUESTION

Feb. 14, 2013

It’s been more than half a year since WestJet announced the imminent purchase of more than 40 Bombardier turbo-prop aircraft and the creation of a region service to be known as WestJet Encore. Expressions of interest in WestJet service were solicited by the airline and dozens of communities responded, making formal presentations in Calgary last June.

 

Announcement day is drawing closer as a planned late January statement date was pushed back.

Communities across the country have eagerly awaited a decision on who can expect WestJet Encore service.

Representing the West Kootenays, a Castlegar contingent felt good about it’s pitch following the effort and Mayor Lawrence Chernoff is every bit as upbeat now as he was  late last spring.

“I’m still optimistic about it,” said Chernoff on Jan. 31.

The mayor hinted that there may have been recent, encouraging signs relating to whether Castlegar’s name is among those cities whose names are read when the news is broken.

“I just think it’s working in a good direction,” he said. “It’s my understanding that WestJet executives were in the community in the last couple of days, either Rossland or Nelson… in the area.”

Chernoff did not indicate any knowledge of who the executives were, or exactly what the purpose of their visit may have been.

WestJet media representative Robert Palmer, in an email, told the Castlegar News on Jan. 31 he had been unaware of any such group visiting the West Kootenays over this period.

Back in June an excited Chernoff had described how towns and cities from Pacific coast to Atlantic coast had taken their 25-minute turns in telling WestJet why they’d be good candidates for WestJet Encore service. His enthusiasm does not appear to have waned.

“I’m still positive,” says the Castlegar mayor, “no doubt about it. I’m extremely hopeful. To me, it’s the right time and I think it’s a great opportunity.”

While the identity of the successful applicants remains a mystery for the time being, according to WestJet, the wait will be over soon.

“We haven’t made the date public,” Palmer’s email concluded, “but it will be sometime in February via news release early in the morning.”

 

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