Three sculptures still stand in Lake Country parks as a legacy to an Okanagan Valley-wide sculpture symposium held in 2002.
Now the Lake Country public arts commission is hoping that the district can again benefit from world class sculpting as it looks to host a sculpture symposium in 2017. It would coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday, would honour First Nations in the area and enrich the future trail loop around Wood Lake on the Okanagan Rail Trail and Pelmewash Parkway.
The arts commission is going to apply for a $100,000 grant under the federal government’s Canada 150 program in an attempt to host the symposium next July.
If the grant application is successful, the symposium would likely be held in Woodsdale Park, where the Okanagan Rail Trail passes by.
The symposium will have a First Nations theme.
“I think there is a lot that Lake Country should and can do in order to become more informed about our First Nations’ people,” said public arts commission chairperson Sharon McCoubrey. “I feel this event will be one way in which we can honour our First Nations and profile them. The intent would be to have half of the commissioned artists to be First Nations’ artists.”
McCoubrey said the arts commission has been thinking about hosting a sculpture symposium in Lake Country for some time. Originally they had hoped to host it on Pelmewash Parkway but the old Highway 97 won’t be ready for Lake Country to use next year. But with the development of the Okanagan Rail Trail and Pelmewash eventually combining to make a loop around Wood Lake, the Woodsdale Park location would also be ideal for the sculptors and onlookers.
“As the trail around the lake gets developed over the next decade, it’s going to be such an amazing asset for Lake Country,” said McCoubrey. “We would like to be able to add enhancements and points of interest so that it could be a very enriched walk around the lake. So we see this (sculpture) event as the beginning or part of the trail development.”
In 2002, a valley-wide sculpture symposium was held all the way from Osoyoos to Kamloops. It was a large event that went on for four months. In Lake Country three sculptors produced works: Chinese sculpture Shangxi Zhu created Entrance to the Valley while Toru Fujibayashi’s moulded Circle of Life. Both marble creations are in Swalwell Park while a third, called Dancing Goose, stands in Beasley Park.
McCoubrey said the 2002 symposium had its problems but Lake Country’s part of the event went well. She stressed that the 2017 planned event would be a much smaller and simpler symposium specific only to Lake Country. The arts commission will be sending off the grant application soon with the hope of getting started on the event by the end of the year.