Culture Days unveils first-ever Canada-wide celebration of arts and culture

Annual event celebrates the creative vitality of our communities by bringing creators and public together

TORONTO, April 20 /CNW/ - Plans for Culture Days, a free annual event that invites people to celebrate and explore arts and culture in every province and territory in Canada, were unveiled today at events in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. The Canada-wide celebration represents the largest-ever collective public participation campaign undertaken by the arts and cultural community in this country. Culture Days will take place on September 24 to 26 in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec (under the existing event Journées de la culture), New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; and on September 17 to 19 in Alberta (under the existing event Alberta Arts Days). Dates for Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon will be announced shortly.

Attended by Ministers of Culture, local performers and artists in each province, the announcements called on the arts and cultural community to offer activities that invite the public to participate in hands-on, interactive experiences during Culture Days. Interested artists and organizations can register online at www.culturedays.ca. Those who register activities will benefit from a national marketing and communications campaign as well as access to materials to help promote activities within their communities.

Through direct interaction with artists, curators, designers, historians, architects and other creative producers, Culture Days invites Canadians to discover the inner workings of the arts and cultural world and to explore their own creativity. Culture Days activities will be free. Professional, amateur, educational, heritage and community-based arts and cultural organizations as well as groups, artists, creative industries and municipalities in major urban centres, regional cities, towns and rural communities alike are welcome to be part of Culture Days.

Inspired by the 13-year success of Québec's annual Journées de la culture event and its efforts at democratizing culture in that province, Culture Days was also spurred on by the success of Alberta Arts Days initiated 3 years ago, as well as the pilot project spOtlight in southern Ontario. Culture Days is a volunteer-driven, grassroots movement led by the arts and cultural sector in collaboration with municipalities, public funding agencies, provincial governments and the private sector. Directed by a national Steering Committee, volunteer provincial Task Forces have taken on the responsibility to rally their arts and cultural milieu and to promote the event to the public at the regional level. Existing provincial initiatives, notably Journées de la culture and Alberta Arts Days will be part of the annual celebration and existing local events, festivals and activities that meet Culture Days programmatic criteria are invited to join the movement.

"It's a culture free for all!" says Antoni Cimolino, Chair of Culture Days' national Steering Committee and General Director of Stratford Shakespeare Festival. "We are thrilled with the level of enthusiasm that Culture Days has already begun to garner across Canada. Thousands of artists, organizations, associations and public and private funders across the country are excited to support and voluntarily participate in this collective invitation to welcome the public into our cultural homes and become more familiar with what we do."

"In addition to the experience and success of Quebec's Journées de la culture in connecting artists and organizations with a vast public, the success of Alberta Arts Days since its inception in 2008 and the impact of the pilot project spOtlight in Ontario are excellent examples of the increasing recognition for the value of arts and culture to Canadians in every community across the country. We hope that millions of Canadians will take advantage of this generous invitation in September," says Cimolino.

Tom Bogart, Executive Vice President, Business Development and General Counsel of Sun Life Financial, is chairing Culture Days' Council of Corporate Champions. In this voluntary role, Bogart is rallying Canadian corporate leaders who believe passionately in Culture Days goals.

"Sun Life Financial is an enthusiastic supporter of Culture Days. Like most corporations, we support specific arts organizations and areas of focus, and we are delighted to do so. Culture Days complements and leverages our regular program by providing a platform from which to support and celebrate the extraordinary quality, depth and diversity of the arts and culture all across Canada," says Bogart. "Support for Culture Days also sends a clear message about Canada's commitment to the arts and culture, an important ingredient in attracting talented, high performance individuals to live here."

To date, national partners supporting the development of Culture Days include Sun Life Financial and Power Corporation of Canada, The Government of Alberta and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Media partners include The Globe and Mail, St. Joseph Communications and CBC.

To follow the development of the celebration, learn more about the Culture Days movement and to participate in activities this September, visit www.culturedays.ca

About Culture Days

Culture Days (culturedays.ca) is a collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Culture Days was initiated by four Founding Partners: The Canadian Arts Summit, Culture pour tous (producer of les Journées de la culture), Canada Council for the Arts and The Banff Centre. To date provincial partners include Government of Alberta, SaskCulture, Manitoba Homecoming, Government of Manitoba, Ontario Arts Council, Government of Prince Edward Island and the Government of Northwest Territories. Culture Days was inspired by Journées de la culture, produced by Culture pour tous in Québec.

SOURCE Culture Days

For further information: For further information: or to coordinate interviews, please contact: National media representative: Shauna Simons, Media Profile, shauna.simons@mediaprofile.com, (416) 342-1841; Provincial media representatives: BC, Kevin Dale McKeown, Alliance for Arts & Council, communications@allianceforarts.com, (604) 681-3535 ext. 215; AB, Keltie Macpherson, Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, keltie.macpherson@gov.ab.ca, (780) 427-6530; SK, Diane Ell, SaskCulture Inc., diane.ell@saskculture.sk.ca, (306) 780-9453; MB, Nicole Matiation, Manitoba Culture Days, nicolematiation@culturedays.ca, (204) 942-8221; ON, Shauna Simons, Media Profile, shauna.simons@mediaprofile.com, (416) 342-1841; QC, Hélène Bélanger, Culture pour Tous, helenebelanger@culturepourtous.ca, (514) 873-4717; NB, Susan Chalmers-Gauvin, Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada, susan@atlanticballet.ca, (506) 383-5951 ext. 104; NS, Chris Shore, Theatre Nova Scotia, cshore@theatrens.ca, (902) 425-3876; PEI, Penny Walsh, Confederation Centre of the Arts, pwalsh@confederationcentre.com, (902) 628-6138; NL, Amy House, Association of Cultural Industries of Newfoundland & Labrador, rcat@nfld.net, (705) 753-4531; NT, Amy Doerksen, Government of Northwest Territories, amy_doerksen@gov.nt.ca, (867) 920-6222; NU, Edward Atkinson, Culture, Language, Elders & Youth, Government of Nunavut, eatkinson@gov.nu.ca, (867) 934-2044; YT, Al Cushing, Yukon Arts Centre, ceo@yac.ca, (867) 667-8577

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