Behind the Scenes: Q&A WITH PETER VOGELAAR, BOARD VICE-PRESIDENT
The West Kootenay Regional Arts Council (WKRAC) exists to help arts, culture and heritage in the Kootenays 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.
Peter Vogelaar, Board Vice-President
Living in Winlaw, Peter Vogelaar is Vice-President of the WKRAC board.
WKRAC: How did you come to call the Kootenays home?
PV: I moved to Winlaw in 1989 with my partner Lesley Mayfield after a 12-year stint up in Fort St. John running my own sign business. Lesley had found a lovely spot in the Slocan Valley and I was happy to come and settle in. It was a bonus, as I had some previous connections to Nelson, having attended the Kootenay School of the Arts from 1972 to 1976.
Are you involved in arts, culture and heritage outside of your work with WKRAC/CKCA? If so, what is your discipline or practice?
Not long after we got here, I heard about a snow-sculpture contest on the CBC—the lure of a trip to Quebec for the winner had me hooked. Little did I know that I was off on a new career, applying my art-school sculpture training to all manner of ephemeral media. I am one of a group of sand, snow and ice sculptors from this region, and happy to have helped some of my old friends from art school get into it.
Why did you wish to join this board/committee?
I had been involved with the arts council in Fort St. John and got right into it in the Valley. When Columbia Basin Trust came along and created CKCA, I recognized that all the local arts councils needed to participate. Somewhere along there, I ended up on the WKRAC board.
What do you think people in the region should be proud of in terms of arts, culture and heritage?
I think we have a flourishing arts community here in the Kootenays, partially as a result of all those years of grads from the Kootenay School of the Arts putting down roots. It has also attracted artists from all over thanks to our beautiful landscapes. With the Castlegar Sculpturewalk, the successful mural fest in Nelson and the fantastic cultural events of Revelstoke, I think we have lots to be proud of.
What advice do you have for people in the region pursuing a career in arts, culture and heritage?
My advice to those who want to succeed as artists here is to be versatile—be open to opportunities whenever they present themselves. Network as much as you can. Take advantage of the grants that are available to us through CKCA. And volunteer!!
What vision do you see for the future of arts, culture and heritage in the Kootenays?
I think we have lots of good momentum in support of arts, culture and heritage in this region—and having hired an energetic new executive director for WKRAC is only going to help things along. We still need to get more young people involved in arts councils and still need to encourage more people to take part in all the fine cultural events that surround us.