Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad 2008 takes the stage

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - Cultural Olympiad 2008 today launches a
multi-year celebration of arts, culture and creativity staged as part of the
Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
    Running February 1 to March 21, 2008 in more than 40 venues throughout
Metro Vancouver and British Columbia's Sea-to-Sky corridor, this seven-week
celebration of the imagination offers an exhilarating program of contemporary
talent and creative collaborations. More than 300 free and ticketed
performances and exhibitions fall under the Cultural Olympiad 2008 umbrella,
spanning music, dance, visual arts, literary arts, theatre, film and new
media. This is the first time a Winter Games has hosted a Cultural Olympiad
two years before Games time.
    "Cultural Olympiad 2008 marks the start of a remarkable three-year
cultural program, culminating in the 2010 Olympic Arts Festival and 2010
Paralympic Arts Festival," said David Guscott, VANOC executive vice president,
Celebrations and Partnerships. "Canada's rich cultural heritage and dynamic
arts community serve as exceptional vehicles to capture the soul of our
nation, both within our own borders and around the globe."
    Co-presented in partnership with 60 arts and culture organizations,
Cultural Olympiad 2008 highlights the vitality and breadth of Canada's
creative community. Other performances provide audiences a window through
which to explore Canada's intercultural connections and abundant cultural
    "Cultural Olympiad 2008 is the result of a unique and exciting
collaboration with Canada's creative community," said Burke Taylor, VANOC vice
president, Culture and Celebrations. "From the outset, our commitment has been
to build a program in partnership that reflects the artistic excellence,
innovation and diversity of our partners' work and that sparks broad
    Cultural Olympiad 2008 will make use of many well-known cultural venues
as well as non-traditional spaces, from city streets and parks to snow-covered
fields. Look for performances suspended from buildings, such as One Icy Urban
Spire, an aerial dance performance balanced on the ledges and colonnades of
the Vancouver Public Library, or in historic mines, such SAM2 Performance and
Workshop at Britannia Beach's Museum of Mining, where movement and instruments
crafted from scrap metal create powerful percussive performances.
    With 79 events to choose from, the festival also explores values that
figure prominently in the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, such as inclusion,
excellence and respect for cultural diversity. bhangra:authentic, part of the
International Bhangra Festival, Beijing Stories, a series of films reflecting
on contemporary China, and The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, a remarkable convergence
of Haida culture, Coast Salish ceremony and oratorio, all provide a glimpse of
other cultures through an artistic lens. Wheelchair Dancesport features
dancers with a disability and those who are able-bodied in a competition that
challenges conventional notions of ballroom dancing. Cultural Olympiad 2008
also brings together, under one banner, such cultural icons as jazz legend
Ornette Coleman and emerging talents like Balkan Beat Box, whose "A to Z"
fusion of music styles is a rousing aural tour around the globe.
    The works of visual arts masters Kutlug Ataman (Paradise and Kuba) and
Lida Abdul (An Exhibition of Works) provide a stunning portrait of
contemporary realities in other parts of the world. Treasures of the Tsimshian
from the Dundas Collection showcases important cultural pieces hidden away for
more than a century.
    "From 2008 through 2010, we have an extraordinary opportunity to
celebrate the state of the art of Canada's creative community, to reveal its
innovative spirit, diverse character and global connections," said Robert
Kerr, VANOC program director, Cultural Olympiad. "With something for everyone,
Cultural Olympiad 2008 presents an eclectic cross-section of our vibrant
cultural scene that can be explored and enjoyed in a wide variety of public

    Two-year Countdown Concert - February 12

    One of the highlights of this year's program is a February 12 concert at
the Orpheum Theatre, marking the two-year countdown to the 2010 Winter Games.
Headlining a dazzling lineup of Canadian talent is Grammy nominee Feist, one
of today's hottest talents taking the music world by storm. Her performance
will include five songs with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra featuring world
premier orchestral arrangements commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad. The
concert also includes indie singer-songwriters from across Canada:
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith; Montreal singer-cellist Jorane;
Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Leela Gilday (2007 Juno Award winner for
Aboriginal album of the year); and Toronto-based performer Suzie McNeil, who
released an Olympic- and Paralympic-inspired video of her hit song Believe.
    For a complete list of Cultural Olympiad 2008 events and ticket
information, visit

    History of the Cultural Olympiad

    As the second pillar of Olympism, culture plays a vital role in the
Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who in 1894
founded the modern Olympic movement, took inspiration from ancient Greece,
where the famous games of Olympia included events involving both the best
athletes and artists of the day. De Coubertin believed that the artistic
component to the Games would highlight different cultures, helping to promote
understanding and peace between nations.
    In the first modern Olympic Games, medals were awarded to artists for
merit in various disciplines. This Games component eventually evolved into a
cultural festival, the first of which was held at the Helsinki 1952 Winter
Games. Today, as part of the Olympic charter, Host Cities are required to
produce wide-reaching cultural programs that showcase their country's culture
and traditions.
    Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad will present some of the finest in
Canadian and international arts and culture through a series of three
festivals. Cultural Olympiad 2008 launches this multi-year celebration. An
expanded program will take place in 2009, followed with the 2010 Olympic Arts
Festival (January 22 to February 28, 2010) and 2010 Paralympic Arts Festival
(March 12 to 21, 2010). The three festivals will deliver in total 160 days of
celebration with more than 1,000 performances - hundreds of them free of

    Participating in the Cultural Olympiad

    Participants in the Cultural Olympiad 2008 program were chosen in
response to an open call for proposals. In June 2007, 188 responses were
received from interested artists and organizations from across Canada - and as
far as New York City. Following extensive consultations, 79 projects by
60 organizations were selected, forming Cultural Olympiad 2008.
    VANOC is co-presenting these 79 diverse projects, investing financial and
promotional resources in these partnerships to help build cultural legacies
that will last beyond 2010.
    An open call for Cultural Olympiad 2009 and 2010 programs begins
February 1, 2008, with final submission deadlines on April 30, 2008 and
September 30, 2008 respectively.



    The 2008 Cultural Olympiad program has been enhanced through the
contributions by individual provinces supporting their artists, in partnership
with the Cultural Olympiad. The Province of BC, The Government of Alberta
(through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts) and The Government of Ontario
(through the Ontario Arts Council) have each helped support the participation
of their artists in Cultural Olympiad 2008. Vancouver 2010 gratefully
acknowledges this support.
    The Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad enjoys a strong working partnership
with the Government of Canada and all provinces and territories, serving to
ensure showcasing opportunities for a vibrant and diverse range of Canadian
talent in the celebrations culminating in 2010.


    Bell is a Premier National Partner and the exclusive Telecommunications
Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. As part of
its commitment, Bell is proud to partner with VANOC as presenting sponsor of
the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

    Presented by              Official Broadcaster of Cultural Olympiad 2008
    Bell                      CTV

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Wendy Soobis, VANOC
Communications, Tel: (778) 328-1119,; Suzanne
Walters, VANOC Communications, Tel: (778) 328-6386,

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