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Aiming high for 2011

The cultural capital group scheduled a discussion for tonight (July 10) upstairs at the Emergency Services Building to let the public voice ideas and brainstorm for the year-long celebration.

“We’re waiting here with pens, waiting to write down your dreams,” said Garrah. “It’s amazingly simple. We just need to create something for every two weeks that’s fun and cultural.” 

At a council meeting on June 17, the town committed $20,000 towards procuring a government grant to become a cultural capital in partnership with Hinton.

In order to receive the grant, Garrah and the Cultural Capital committee must raise 25 per cent of any amount applied for. 

So if they decide on an application for a $100,000 grant, $5,000 more needs to be pulled together before the November deadline.

The centre-piece of Jaspers’ application is the revival of The Jasper Story, a musical written by playwright Elsie Park Gowan about the founding of Jasper performed in town once a week for stretches in the 1950s and 1970s.  

Garrah said a community effort will be required to bring the play into the twenty-first century. Creative Jasperites will get a rare opportunity to contribute to updating the play by adding “a new chapter” chronicling the last 50 years.

“I think it’s going to be a hoot to bring local writers, singers and dancers in to do it,” she said. “I mean, how often do you have writers in Jasper get paid to write? The potential is amazing for what could happen here.”

Garrah said she is also hoping to have historically themed Canada Day celebrations in 2011, and the possibility of having a screenplay based on John McLay’s book,  On Mountaintop Rock, is also being considered.

Hinton’s art and culture co-ordinator Don Engerdahl said ideas will be fleshed out at a public forum he will be holding at the end of July in Hinton.

The historical aspect will be put to the forefront in Hinton as well, with a railway anniversary celebration and tool kits for teachers to help students learn about the area’s environment and past. 

Engerdahl said he also hopes a replica encampment can be set up at Brule Lake to simulate conditions famous explorer David Thompson endured.

“The word is getting out there and excitement is building,” said Engerdahl.

While Garrah is asking the town to “dream big” she has no limitations herself in imagining what the cultural capital could mean to Jasper.

She said the ultimate “dream”, assuming Jasper and Hinton are named, is to parlay cultural capital into a centre for the arts on par with the Banff Centre.

“I really think it’s a potential to get the seedlings for a Banff Centre here,” she said. “It may take 50 years to build, but everybody wants it. That’s the big dream – first of all we have to get an application in.” 

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