Behind the Scenes: Q&A WITH Holly Bhattacharya, CKCA STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER

Behind the Scenes: Q&A WITH Holly Bhattacharya, CKCA STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER

Behind the Scenes: Q&A WITH Holly Bhattacharya, CKCA STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER

Holly Bhattacharya, 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.

Holly Bhattacharya, CKCA Steering Committee Member

Performing violinist and violin teacher Holly Bhattacharya lives in Revelstoke.

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

HB: My family and I moved to Canada from Brighton, United Kingdom, in 2021. When we arrived we lived in Okotoks, 20 minutes south of Calgary, but when the position of Executive and Artistic Director for Arts Revelstoke came up, my husband applied and we decided to make the move to BC.

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

I have been a performing violinist and teacher since graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2005. I have played regularly with many of the UK’s top orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (where I met my husband), the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Orchestras. I also played on the show The Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End for several years. Since moving to Canada, I have set up a successful teaching practice in Revelstoke and have joined an ensemble called the Jessica McMann Trio. We recorded an album in summer 2023 called Prairie Dusk and did a promotional tour starting in Alberta (St. Albert, Cochrane), travelling around interior BC (Revelstoke, Nelson, Trail) and finishing at Vancouver’s IndieFest in November.

Why did you wish to join this board/committee?

As a newcomer to Canada, I feel like I have a responsibility to fully understand the arts scene from all perspectives and the processes involved that create an environment which gives everyone access to live music, theatre, art and arts education. I also feel like I am able to offer a different perspective from someone who has grown up in the area, as I have been immersed in the arts scene in the UK for many years.

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

Within almost every community in the region, it seems there is not only a vibrant arts scene, but also a sense of community connection with that art—in that it belongs to them and reflects them, so wherever that art or artist goes, a little bit of them goes with it. This is a special relationship to the art and artists which I have not seen elsewhere.

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

For anyone pursuing a career in arts, culture and heritage, I would say to fully understand it and appreciate it. Don’t just explore one avenue but explore many—you may end up in a completely different area from where you initially imagined! Each discipline of arts, music, theatre, culture and heritage has many different aspects which overlap and complement each other, so they should all work together to bring communities together.

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

I see a bright future for the arts, culture and heritage scenes in the Columbia Basin. I hope that within the spirit of reconciliation, Indigenous artists are honoured and enabled, to give an equitable performance platform for everyone. I also hope that communities as a whole see the broader need for art within their society and choose to support their local artists by buying art, booking tickets and funding individuals and groups who show enormous talent.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I feel very privileged to be a part of WKRAC/CKCA. The work they are doing and the connections they are fostering are so valuable for all artists. They provide financial and practical support and truly enable artists in the region to reach their full potential. Thank you for everything you are doing!