Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // December 2020

image: Looking Forward by Sebastian Abboud; commissioned as a response to REIMAGINE NANAIMO, 2020

Art in Public Spaces: Bowen Creatures

To celebrate Bowen Park, and all of the life—plant, animal and human—that co-exists in this special place, our Culture & Events team has commissioned a project by Nanaimo-based artist Sean Anderson. The project includes a series of three “seek and find” colouring pages! You can download these PDFs and print them on standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper.

Designed to ignite the imaginations of park visitors, encourage safe outdoor exploration, and provide an accessible at-home artist-inspired activity, this is our gift to you for the holidays! We hope you’ll enjoy learning about the creatures of the park.

As part of this project, Anderson is creating a mural in the lobby space of our offices inside Bowen Park Complex—we look forward to welcoming you for a visit in the new year, when COVID restrictions ease.

Download the colouring page PDFs by Sean Anderson!

Artist Opportunities

image: Looking Forward by Sebastian Abboud; commissioned as a response to REIMAGINE NANAIMO, 2020

Call to Artists & Designers now open!
Submit a 2021 street banner design

We are currently seeking designs for our spring 2021 street banner program with a theme of Nanaimo 2121: One Hundred Years Forward. The deadline for submissions is midnight, Pacific Time, February 18, 2021. Please read through the Call to Artists and Designers - 2021 Street Banner Designs on our website prior to application. Applications can be submitted online or dropped off in-person.

Learn more / Submit a design

Image: 2020 Street Banner Design by Amy Pye
Recognizing Rotary's 100 years of service to the community

"Nanaimo is seeing itself different":
Creative commissions enrich dialogue

As part of REIMAGINE NANAIMO, the City's public engagement campaign to create a vision for the next twenty years, our team commissioned three new works of art: a poem by Youth Poet Laureate Valina Zanetti titled ‘The Change I Want to See’, a graphic illustration titled ‘Looking Forward’ by Sebastian Abboud, and a song titled ‘Nazaneen: A Song for Nanaimo’ by Sonnet L’Abbé. The commissions by Zanetti, Abboud and L’Abbé demonstrate how the City of Nanaimo is inviting insights and input from a range of diverse leaders who contribute to the cultural eco-system of the city.

Julie Bevan, Manager of Culture & Events, who initiated this component of the City-wide engagement said, “We’re grateful to Valina, Sebastian and Sonnet for taking up our invitation to reflect on the themes around REIMAGINE NANAIMO and boldly share their perspective; these three works are thoughtful, provocative, and ultimately hopefilled visions about the kind of place they see Nanaimo becoming through planning and action.

Read more

Meet the Artist: Elise Boulanger

Musician Elise Boulanger has created deep roots in the music community of Nanaimo, ​located on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw. As a learner of Indigenous language, Boulanger shares that she’s learned the words kwa t'itûlumuxw stilum shxuxals mean singer-songwriter in Hul’qumi’num. She is a Chamber Folk-Pop artist who started her musical journey at a young age. Inspired by musical theatre, which later led to her playing the lead in Annie, she began singing lessons when she was 8 years old, and later went on to study classical music with the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She attained a Global Studies degree from VIU concentrating in Food Security and First Nations Studies.

Drawing musical inspiration from the undulations of nature, the landscape, and horizon lines, Boulanger interprets environmental highs and lows in the composition of music. She also connects her artistry with science, by way of the volunteer work she does on the City of Nanaimo Environment Committee, which complements her climate change themed video release called The Warming.

Boulanger​ describes her music as classical, ‘creepy-pretty.’ She says her style evokes emotion to expand the listener’s mind. Focusing on undercurrents of rhythm, sounds found in nature, and experimentation on her piano, Boulanger’s songs often combine misheard words and found lines of poetry.

Boulanger combined her passions for traditional music and travel while in Morocco and Belize where she experienced the integration of music and culture. Musicians and dancers encouraged her to sing from her soul, shaping appreciation for diverse music. She is inspired by a range of influences including Regina Spektor, a Russian-born American singer-songwriter and pianist, Canadian DJ Whipped Cream, and xwulmuxw singer, storyteller and teacher, Tsumqwatun.

Performing requires awareness, and Boulanger says that one of the most ‘enchanting’ aspects of her work is to play together with other musicians. Her bandmates Anatol McGinnis and Natasha Hoskins regularly collaborate to create and perform at local venues such as The Queen’s or others farther afield.

While COVID-19 has curtailed Boulanger​'s travel to other countries she has used this time to record music. She is looking forward to future travel in Germany and reconnecting with Canada’s Music Incubator, which specializes in mentorship and professional development programs for artists, managers, and industry professionals, when communities open up again. Dreaming and planning for the future, Boulanger would love to appear on CBC. In the meantime she is about to release new remixes of her recent album Cigarettes et rosé, is pursuing grants to fund her first music video, and is presently working with a synchronization agent​s to make her music available for use in moving images for film and television.

To check out her artistry, visit her YouTube page or Spotify, or visit her website www.eliseboulanger.com

Photo: by Drew Barker

Contact Us

We're here to help! Contact us directly at 250-755-4483 or cultureandevents@nanaimo.ca. Our office is located at the Bowen Park Complex (500 Bowen Road, Nanaimo BC) and we are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (by appointment or registration only).

With respect & gratitude, we acknowledge that our work is carried out on the territory of the Snuneymuxw people

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