Art changes lives. Art is healing and can help individuals deal with stress and trauma. For that reason and many more, art organizations are important. With COVID-19 and current provincial health regulations, art groups are having to adapt and change how they operate. This is being felt worldwide and Kamloops is not an exception. A lot of the organizations are having to alter how they operate in order to stay open. We reached out to some of the local arts groups to see how they were adapting.
“The onset of the pandemic meant that plans for all of our regular programs had to be cancelled,” said Kim Mangan, Executive Director of the Kamloops Music Collective. “It took a couple of months before we were able to adjust to the reality of providing programming in a pandemic, but once we did, we discovered new opportunities to serve an often underserved demographic. For example, our online musicals have proven to be very popular with kids in outlying areas who wouldn’t normally have access to in-person programs. While we are looking forward to the return of our popular in-person program, we are also excited about expanding the new programs that were developed during the pandemic so that we can continue to make an impact through music.”
Dusan Magdolen, Executive Director of the Kamloops Film Society, stated “In order to pivot and stay viable during these unprecedented times, the Kamloops Film Society has partnered with the Twin Rivers Drive-In; launched a Private Booking option at the theatre; and evolved our Member Structure. We are staying nimble so that we can adapt as quickly as possible to new opportunities. Though it’s not an ideal time to be in the movie theatre business, it has forced us to unearth excellent innovative initiatives.”
“The Academy of Dance is being resilient during these challenging times, by offering virtual classes to those who are not able to come to the studio due to the impact the virus may have on them, or their family. We offer many hybrid classes so that students can still engage with their peers while learning from home,” submitted Krista Faraday, CEO of Academy of Dance.
“At Kamloops Society for the Written Arts, we’ve been able to increase participation in some of our activities during the pandemic through online engagement. At the same time, hitting pause on some major events has given us the time and space to reflect on our organization, our goals, and our engagement strategies,” stated JP Baker of the Kamloops Society for the Written Arts. “That enhances our immediate relevance, and our long-term sustainability. In other words, we’re more resilient overall.”
Here at the Kamloops Arts Council, we have had the same challenges. Terri Hadwin, Executive Director said “Artists are resilient, they have a passion that has been instilled in them that is innate and a pandemic is not going to stop them from creating or performing. The KAC has kept every single one of our pre-COVID programming going while ensuring everyone stays safe. It means a lot of our events or programs went online in 2020. We wanted to provide some normalcy for the artists and the community so that even if they are staying at home, they can still be involved in Kamloops Arts Council activities. Our Kamloops Arts group partners are all making adaptations as well. Music, Dance, Performing, Literary, Digital and Visual, we are all working event harder now to keep the arts strong in our region.”
The arts have been resilient during COVID, and they will continue to be until it is safe to return to normal levels, and even after a return to normalcy, the arts will be that much stronger for adapting and learning new ways of creating and sharing the arts.
The Kamloops Arts Council is located in the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre, 7 Seymour St. W