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Culture Days comes to Jasper

Screen shot 2014-09-17 at 3.14.15 PM“There’s music in the streets!” Marianne Garrah exclaimed.

The organizer of Jasper’s Culture Days was talking about this year’s celebrations. Just like in previous years, this September’s event will see street performers scattered throughout town, keeping things lively with music and performances.

But above and beyond the busking, the weekend of Sept. 26–28 will feature a slew of cultural events, including a “sketchers crawl” hosted by the Jasper Artists Guild, a community culture fair in the Jasper Activity Centre, the ever-popular Bowls With Soul dinner, a drumming workshop, the Raven About the Arts Awards and much more.

Alberta Culture Days is a three-day event that takes place across the province, with the goal of raising awareness about, and engaging Albertans in, each community’s arts and culture.

This will be Jasper’s sixth year hosting celebrations, and Garrah is excited to see the event return for another year.

As a lead-up, she has already organized several events in town, including a writer’s workshop Sept. 20, and a puppet-making workshop Sept. 20, 21 and 22.

Both of the workshops, like almost every Culture Days event, are completely free.

A major addition to this year’s events is the brand new Jasper Short Film Festival. The festival will take place Sept. 27, and showcase short films from filmmakers across Canada and the United States.

Matricia Brown, who will host the drumming workshop Sept. 28, has been involved in Culture Days celebrations for years—mostly in her home town of Edson—and said the weekend is a very important one for Albertans.

“Because we think so much with one side of our brain, we really need to make sure that we balance ourselves by thinking with the other side,” she said, referring to artistic activities generally associated with the brain’s right side.

“I think that everybody experiences art and culture in different ways: either you’re an artist or you’re the one appreciating the artist. So I think in some way, shape or form … everybody finds music and art and culture important, they just don’t always realize it.”

She said Albertans can sometimes get caught up in money and possessions, and that means they can forget to stop and appreciate the arts.

“I find that in a lot of places … people are so busy accumulating that sometimes that culture portion of things gets laid to the side, and I think that that needs to be balanced. Culture Days just brings that to light,” she said.

Trevor Nichols

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