Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // March 2021

Nanaimo seeking its next Poet Laureate 2021-2023

We’re inviting applications for the position of Poet Laureate! Nanaimo’s next Poet Laureate will be appointed by City Council for a two-year term and will serve as a literary ambassador for the City, charged with creating and presenting poetic works and engaging activities for the benefit of our community.

Past City of Nanaimo Poet Laureates include Naomi Beth Wakan (2013-2016), and Tina Biello (2017-2020). Youth Poet Laureate Valina Zanetti completed her term in February 2021. All three poets made impactful and memorable contributions during their terms, bringing their unique voices to the role.

Nanaimo’s next Poet Laureate will have a track record of engagement with the literary community and will bring their own artistic objectives, experiences and networks to this dynamic civic role. Over the course of their term, they will collaborate with City staff, and with other community partners, producing and sharing work with diverse audiences.

Poets are invited to review the complete guidelines including eligibility requirements and details on how to apply online. The deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2021 by midnight.

Apply online!

Art in Public Spaces

Announcing the 2021 Street Banner Design

2021 Street Banner Design by Becky Thiessen

Join us in congratulating this year's selected banner designer:

Becky Thiessen


The theme of this year’s call was Nanaimo 2121: One Hundred Years Forward. This annual program offers artists and designers an opportunity to submit proposals for original banner artwork that will be hung in Nanaimo’s downtown area. Banners will be on display in the Arts District downtown, along Bowen Road, Third Street and other major routes, creating a vibrant visual presence from May to November.

When I think 100 years forward, I can’t help but think 100 years back. Industry and increased settlement have made a significant impact on the natural environment in this region. People have lived in this area for thousands of years, in balance with the ecology. My banner imagery represents this idea. When I imagine Nanaimo in 100 years, I hope that the reverence for the cedar tree remains and I hope the estuary can still claim to be one of the greatest natural resources in the region.

Nanaimo's Youth Poet Laureate Wraps Up

Thank you, Valina!

Youth Poet Laureate Valina Zanetti

We extend our thanks to Valina Zanetti, who completed her two-year term as Nanaimo’s Youth Poet Laureate in February 2021. As Youth Poet Laureate, Valina shared poems at several City events, including on the stage at Nanaimo’s Canada Day celebrations at Maffeo Sutton Park in 2019.

In 2020, Valina brought together her passion for animals with her interest in inspiring other youth to create poetry. Her initiative, called "Be Kind to All Kinds in collaboration with the City and BCSPCA, invited reflection on the welfare of animals and human interactions with the natural world. Local youth submitted playful, insightful, expressive poems, which were shared on the Culture & Events Instagram channel alongside a poem by Valina called “Don’t Steal Their Second Chance.” To contribute to Valina’s project, Mayor Leonard Krog also wrote a poem called “Best Guest Ever” about his pet guinea pig, Daffodil.

As part of REIMAGINE NANAIMO, Valina was commissioned to write a poem to reflect on the future of Nanaimo. She presented her work, "The Change I Want to See" at a meeting of City Council and since it has been shared widely. Valina’s poem looks to a future where big pressing challenges facing our society—like racism and discrimination and climate change—have been successfully met, and where people thrive in a just society.

In early February, members of our Culture & Events team had a wrap-up zoom chat with Valina to reflect on her experience and to express gratitude for her work. Valina shared that one of the most valuable things she learned as Youth Poet Laureate are skills related to networking: how to make contacts and call on them to help. We also talked poetry – Valina read us one of the poems she takes inspiration from, called “How to Triumph Like a Girl” by Ada Limón.

Congratulations on great work as Youth Poet Laureate, Valina. We wish you success in your next projects!


Phase 1 Engagement Summary

REIMAGINE NANAIMO Phase 1 Engagement Summary

Wow, Nanaimo! You’ve shared some great insights for the first phase of REIMAGINE NANAIMO – what’s great about our City, what needs work and fantastic ideas for the future. Take a browse through the Phase 1 Engagement Summary and see what our community has shared so far. These ideas are now being used in Phase 2 of the process to identify a range of potential scenarios and options for Nanaimo’s future. Later this spring, we’ll be asking for your review and thoughts on these emerging directions. Stay tuned!

Phase 1 Engagement Summary

Grants & Opportunities

The Resilience Fund

Thank you to all the applicants who brought their projects to us for this new grant opportunity. Our review begins now, and we look forward to responding to the emerging needs of Nanaimo’s arts and culture community!

Look for results to be announced in May 2021.

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