The Art in the Time of COVID Gala, a mini film fest, attracted more than 200 attendees at the Lester Centre of the Arts o Oct. 23, in the first public ticketed event since the pandemic closed the curtain on the stage.
The event was part of the BC Culture Days, showcasing 17 videos about Prince Rupert area artists creating work during the pandemic. The short films were produced by Prince Rupert artist Mike Ambach and compiled to make a feature-length film.
Prince Rupert was one of five chosen B.C. communities to be featured in the annual national celebration of arts and culture held during September and October each year.
“This is actually one of our very first in-person events since … the pandemic closed our doors,” John Roper, Lester Centre general manager, told The Northern View.
Roper was very pleased with the attendance, which neared the maximum 50 per cent capacity of 350 seats. Although health regulations starting on Oct. 25 allow for full seating, he said they would continue to keep attendance at half-capacity due to the logistics of admitting people with their vaccine cards.
“Seven hundred people would be a daunting task,” Roper said.
The large turn-out left Sandy Jones, president of the Prince Rupert Arts Council, feeling the public’s appetite is returning for arts events and theatre.
“I’m excited about the potential for opening up and theatre being available to us,” Jones said.
“During COVID, we’ve had nothing happening — and all of a sudden, we were able to go out and look at what people were doing during COVID and find ‘yeah people are still doing beautiful things,” she said. “To bring them all together is a bit of a celebration of resilience and resourcefulness.”
Moving forward, Jones hopes to keep the film collection and build upward on this year’s success. The idea would be to keep all the films in a library which the Prince Rupert arts community could add to overtime.
“It would be a nice to have these little vignettes of people — and it’s sort of like a historical record as well,” Jones said.
Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View