Carlo Alcos, CKCA Steering Committee Member

The West Kootenay Regional Arts Council (WKRAC) exists to help arts, culture and heritage in the Columbia Basin thrive. To do so, we rely on a dedicated team of board members, plus steering committee members who oversee the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (CKCA) arts and culture grants.

Who are these people? In this series, we’re introducing you to the folks behind the scenes.

Carlo Alcos, CKCA Steering Committee Member

Living in Nelson, Carlo Alcos is a freelance videographer.

WKRAC: How did you come to call the Columbia Basin home?

CA: I grew up in the lower mainland and left Vancouver in 2007. After a few years living abroad in Australia and travelling, I came to Nelson in 2010. I had just separated with my ex-wife and was looking for a place to land and clear my head. I had no expectations of moving permanently to Nelson but I quickly fell in love with the community and the city and I’ve never left! I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Are you involved in arts, culture and heritage outside of your work with WKRAC/CKCA? If so, what is your discipline or practice?

I’m a freelance videographer and documentary filmmaker. I produce videos mostly with non-profit organizations, helping them tell the stories they want to tell so the public has a better understanding of the services they offer to the community. I also have the pleasure of collaborating with a lot of local artists, from dancers to poets to musicians, to capture their performances. As a documentary filmmaker I tell stories; I’m currently working on a personal documentary called Outsiderness that explores my experiences growing up as a second-generation Filipino in Canada.

Why did you wish to join this board/committee?

There are a few reasons. One is that, as a visible minority and a male, I wanted to ensure representation in a group that makes important decisions that impact the lives of Columbia Basin artists. As it was, in 2024 I was the only male in the group and one of only a few visible minorities. The other is a less altruistic reason; as someone who applies for grants for my own projects, I felt that I could learn a lot by being on this side of the process and better my own chances in the future of being successful on grant applications. Lastly, I really enjoy working with Executive Director Kallee Lins and Grants Officer and Operations Manager Lily Andersen!

What do you think people in the region should be proud of in terms of arts, culture and heritage?

I think the support of artists in the Basin is amazing, as evidenced by the CKCA granting programs that are funded by Columbia Basin Trust. It would take a lot for artists to be truly recognized for their place in society, but it feels like this region really appreciates the arts. In terms of culture and heritage, living in Nelson I’ve experienced so many events and festivals and I get to enjoy all the heritage this place has to offer. For a region with a relatively small population, I think we punch well above our weight and we should be really proud of that.

What advice do you have for people in the region pursuing a career in arts, culture and heritage?

It would be the same for anyone in any discipline, and that is to connect with people in your area of interest in a genuine way. Be curious, be humble, ask questions. Be kind and compassionate. Skills and technique are easy to learn and time takes care of experience, but our shared humanity underpins it all and shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s all about relationships.

What vision do you see for the future of arts, culture and heritage in the Columbia Basin?

I think that depends on the voices of the people here. As I said, I believe as a whole we appreciate arts, culture and heritage immensely—whether it’s going to see a movie or a play in a heritage theatre, attending one of the several local music festivals, or simply enjoying open mic stand-up comedy at a pub—so we need to continue showing our support by going to events and voting for municipal and provincial governments that are in line with our values in this regard. The Trust is showing commitment in terms of its slated increase of funding year over year for CKCA grants for artists and non-profit organizations, so that is very promising.