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50th Facts

Look back on our past 50 years of fostering & promoting Arts & Culture in West Vancouver with fascinating facts about the role the WVCAC has played in out community. This is a living document, so if you have any fascinating trivia please share it on our Facebook page.

1968 The West Vancouver Community Arts Council is established as a registered not-for profit society. Members of the West Vancouver Band Association, the West Vancouver Little Theatre Guild (now Theatre West Van), the West Vancouver Sketch Club (now the North Shore Artists Guild) & the West Vancouver Visual Arts Group joined forces to form a society that would advocate for these organizations & increase their profile in the community.

196877 The WVCAC meets tri-monthly in the former Red Cross Building that used to be next to the West Vancouver Memorial Library on Marine Drive.

1960s80s The WVCAC secured grants for Arts and Culture organizations, primarily in West Vancouver but also across the North Shore, through the Province of BC until granting policies changed. These grants were used for specific projects that would be seen a benefit to the community. Grant recipients included West Vancouver Youth Band, West Vancouver Historical Society, Anna Wyman School of Dance, the West Vancouver Little Theatre Guild (now Theatre West Van), the West Vancouver Sketch Club (now the North Shore Artists Guild), The North Shore Chamber Music Society, & more.

197791 The WVCAC leases Klee Wyck from the District of West Vancouver, producing visual art classes & providing affordable space for Member Groups to hold meetings, rehearsals & workshops.

1977 The Wood Sculpture of the Americas Symposium is held at Klee Wyck from Spring through Fall. Spearheaded by the WVCAC & its Members, in partnership with West Vancouver Municipal Council & Administration & sponsored by Park Royal, the Symposium presented 10 sculptors from Canada, the US & South America, either creating new works of art or exhibiting existing creations & drew thousands of visitors. Some of the sculptures created during the symposium are still on display as public art in West Vancouver such as Yoshimura Bicycles by Fumio Yoshimura at the West Van Community Centre & Mr. & Mrs. Plumtree by Barbara Spring at West Van Memorial Library.

1980s–90s The WVCAC partnered with the North Vancouver Community Arts Council (now North Van Arts) to jury submissions for the annual Images and Objects exhibition, a feature of the B.C Festival for the Arts. The festival held activities in locations all over BC. The Images and Objects exhibition changed locations every year & featured artists from across the province, with each region's arts council administering the jury. 

1980–83 The WVCA sponsored an annual Civic Dance at the West Van Community Centre. Live music was provided by The West Vancouver Adult Band & West Vancouver Dance Band. Each dance had a fun theme & door prizes.

198287 The WVCAC sponsors the popular West Vancouver Chamber Music Series at West Vancouver United Church showcasing professional musicians from across BC.

1983 In Search of a Home, an audio visual presentation produced by the WVCAC, documents the growth of West Van since the turn of the century & highlights the accomplishments of various local Arts & Culture groups while emphasizing the need for a performing & visual arts centre, is presented to various businesses, organizations, guilds & educators at their request.

1985 Sculpture Seen & Spoken is presented in association with the Sculptor's Society of BC. March 22-24, the WVCAC presented & produced sculpture events such as film screenings, seminars & studio tours by notable Lower mainland sculptors David Marshall (who completed a large marble sculpture on the Klee Wyck grounds), Joyce McDonald, Carl Merten & Dwane Neuberger.

1985 The WVCAC's Arts in Education Committee worked with teachers & administrators of West Van's 3 high schools to present the Showcase of Spring Stars '85. The Showcase ran for 2 performances near the end of spring at West Vancouver Secondary School, highlighting the talents of local young musicians while an exhibition of student art was displayed in the cafeteria. Prior to the showcase students had the opportunity to perform & present their work to a jury of established musicians, artists & educators, gaining valuable feedback & critiques. The event helped raise funds for scholarships for each of the schools.  

1987 West Vancouver celebrated its 75th birthday with a number of events & activities for the community to participate in & mark this milestone. The WVCAC produced 2 art exhibitions showcasing the work of West Vancouver artists. Outstanding Artists of West Vancouver was a juried exhibition that featured 25 artists including Gordon Smith, Daniel Izzard, Elizabeth Smily, Sam Black & Ian Wallace. For many of these artists, this was the 1st time they were able to exhibit in their own community, as there were few exhibition spaces at the time. The Vancouver Sun called it "..the most comprehensive showing ever mounted of West Vancouver artists...". West Vancouver-My Home was an exhibition featuring talented students from West Van secondary schools. Both exhibitions were displayed in Municipal Hall during the month of June

1988 The WVCAC organized & hosted the opening reception of that year's Coho Festival. The reception was held at Park Royal & included a salmon buffet prepared by Frank Matman the Executive Chef for the Ambleside Inn, live music by the Galiano Trio, a champagne toast, door prizes donated by local business & restaurants, & was MC'ed by radio host/journalist Terry Bell. There was also a juried exhibition featuring 60 artists including Ross Penhall & Stephen Dittberner.

1988 The WVCAC held a Celebrity Auction to raise funds for our continued operations in supporting arts & culture in the community. The auction was held at the West Vancouver Recreation Centre (now West Vancouver Community Centre) & featured over 200 auction items that included an original watercolour by Toni Onley, a Steinway piano from Tom Lee Music, a day on set of Much Music, now Much) with Terry David Mulligan, gift certificates from local businesses, items crafted by local artisans & more! The WVCAC raised a total of $5000.

1991 The Silk Purse becomes the WVCAC's base of operations, leased to us by the District of West Vancouver.

1991 the WVCAC partnered with the North Shore Connexions Society (then called the North Shore Association for the Mentally Handicapped) for 2 amazing projects. The Art of a Mutual Affair exhibition & auction at Klee Wyck from May 31-June 1, featured artists from BC, Ontario & the North American Watercolour Society working in multi-media, painting, sculpture, jewelry & pottery with 50% of sales donated to NSCS. Then on Community Day, North Shore sculptor Marke G. A. Mazeppa led a group of 50 participants in creating sculptures from recycled materials. Materials were collected by the WVCAC & NSCS.

20002012 The WVCAC distributed the Myrtle Mayall Arts Scholarship to local post-secondary students studying visual art, music, textile art, theatre, illustration, graphic design, jazz & opera . 2-3 students a year were awarded this bursary to assist with their studies. Myrtle Mayall was a local passionate patron of the arts. This award was dedicated to her memory & legacy of patronage. Myrtle Mayall's family generously provided the funds for the WVCAC to distribute.

2000Present Jazz Waves, the popular summertime jazz festival produced by the WVCAC, began in 2000 as the brain child of then Executive Director Cheryl Karchut. For 18 years the Ambleside waterfront has been rocked, serenaded & moved by local & international musicians like Dee Daniels, The Sojourners, Jim Byrnes, Bill Coon, the Arntzen Family, Jennifer Scott, Cory Weeds & so many more! Jazz Waves has become a series the North Shore community & beyond looks forward to every summer.

2001 Noted local artist Elizabeth Smily paints an incredible study of Clyde Mitchell, Lions Gate Sinfonia founding Conductor & Music Director, in the Silk Purse Arts Centre during one of her many exhibitions here.

The WVCAC produces Hide 'n Sea-k for the Harmony Arts Festival. This family friendly treasure hunt saw children & parents searching the Ambleside waterfront for clues that would lead to tokens corresponding to prizes that included original art, such as glass sculptures by Sol Maya, Harmony Arts Fest memorabilia & free passes to children's art workshops.

2001-Present The North Shore Tellers are a collection of talented professional storytellers who have partnered with the WVCAC since 2001 to present sophisticated & inspiring storytelling for adults in the monthly Cric? Crac! Storytelling Sundays series. The 1st Sunday of the month they tellers craft an evening of folktales from around the world, classic epics, true stories from their personal lives, poetry & song around a unique theme.

2003 The WVCAC celebrated our 35th Anniversary with a celebration at the Silk Purse which included musical performances, activities & a delicious birthday cake. Over 100 members of the community came out to show their support & share this milestone

2004 The WVCAC publishes Mentors in Our Midst, Leading Ladies of the North Shore, a book profiling 21 female singers, painters, actors, writers, instructors, dancers & patrons who have made tremendous contributions to the Arts on the North Shore. Created over 2 years by staff, members of the Board & volunteers, this book was sold in multiple locations & distributed to school districts throughout BC.

2005 The WVCAC launches its first website.

2005 The WVCAC threw a Mardi Gras celebration! Activities included a mask making workshop, a parade along Argyle Ave. & a Dixieland Jazz concert lead by local favourites Lloyd Arntzen & Peter Vanderhorst.

2009 Puppets Up - Beyond the Strings, an exhibition & performance series celebrating the art of puppetry is produced by the WVCAC from July 31-Aug. 9. The exhibition at the Silk Purse, curated by award-winning puppet builder & performer Dusty Hagerud, featured marionettes, hand puppets, ventriloquist dummies & more from local puppeteers including Carnival Sized Cinnamon Hearts, Sandy Buck & Stiq Puppets. All week there were live performances by Kellie Haines, the Elwoodette Marionettes, Tamara Unroe, Sandy Buck & more. A puppet making workshop using recycled materials let children create their own puppet & develop its character.  

200615 The WVCAC hosted an annual silent auction at the Silk Purse Arts Centre, featuring paintings of local scenes by Capilano University IDEA (Illustration & Design) students. The paintings were created for the popular Reflections Calendar, whose proceeds, along with the sale of the original paintings, funded the students' grad show/exhibition & industry meet and greet.

2011 The Columba Light Festival ran Feb. 11-12, produced in partnership by the WVCAC & District of West Vancouver. Inspired by the constellation Columba (Latin for Dove), the festival celebrated peace, unity & youth artists with a drum cafe & performance by the Eagle Song Dancers at the Community Centre, skating at the Ferry Building Landing & a celebration in John Lawson Park featuring local dance companies, fire dancers & rock bands Said The Whale & Mother Mother.

2011 Muralist Richard Tetrault paints 3 murals as a public art project by the WVCAC in partnership with the District of West Vancouver. Murals Inlet #1 & Inlet #2 adorn the exterior of the Silk Purse Arts Centre while Chimney Mural is painted on the chimney of the Music Box.

201213 Lions Gate Sinfonia presented Music For Art, a series of monthly concerts featuring the outstanding members of the this North Shore orchestra. Each concert was held in the Silk Purse Arts Centre with a programme inspired by the current exhibition, beautifully marrying visual art & music.

201315 The WVCAC hosted the Craft Market at West Vancouver's Community Day. West Vancouver’s annual Community Day is a celebration of our vibrant community that has been marked in residents’ calendars for generations. The Craft Market was an opportunity for local artisans & artists to sell their wares & gain exposure.

2014–15 The WVCAC Student Awards are presented to a graduating Music student from each public North Shore secondary school. Beginning with a 2013 fundraising concert at St. Stephen's Church featuring R&B legends Kentish Steele & the Shantelles, the WVCAC raised funds for the awards with the generous & amazing support of our Members! Students were selected by the heads of each school's Music program with the only criteria being an honest & dedicated passion for performing & studying music. Over 2 years 20 students were awarded $500 each in recognition of their love of music.  

2016 WVCAC's membership reaches an all-time high of 1,075.

201617 Volunteer Claire Yu, who at the time was a local high school student invested in finding spaces for young artists to display their work, initiates the  Art Around the Block exhibition. With guidance & support from the WVCAC, Claire curated Art Around the Block exhibitions in 2016 & 17, showcasing paintings, drawings, photography & sculpture by high school students from the North Shore & beyond.

2016-Present 2016 the Rising Stars concert series debuted. Partnering with Capilano University, the WVCAC presents 4 thrilling concerts each spring, showcasing talented up-and-coming musicians currently studying in the North Shore University's acclaimed Jazz Studies& Music Diploma programs. Rising Stars helps local students reach the next step in their careers by gaining real-world experience in booking performances, dealing with contracts, developing programmes & performing live, all while showcase the superstars of tomorrow.

2016 The WVCAC joins the North Shore Cultural Mapping Project Advisory Committee. Spearheaded by North Van Arts, the Cultural Map is a regional project aimed to create a free, online, interactive, responsive map for identifying all cultural assets on the North Shore (areas include the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, the District of West Vancouver, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation). This map aims to capture the rich and unique cultural activity that resides in our communities & be a valuable tool for programming, advocacy, and urban planning. As well as being on the Advisory Committee, the WVCAC supports the project through sales of the "You Are Here" calendar, hosting exhibitions of original artwork from the calendar & providing staff through or summer students.

2017 The dedicated volunteers of the WVCAC are awarded the West Vancouver Community Award for Arts and Culture in recognition of their contribution the community.

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