SaskScapes – Culture Days in Yorkton

It’s a Culture Days 2015 retrospective as Kevin Power travels to Yorkton to explore how that community celebrates during the nation wide movement honouring our culture. This is Kevin’s first stop during the weekend, but as you’ll see, there is a common theme in all three of the Culture Day’s podcast episodes coming up. That theme is FOOD! This episode features coffee talk and the sounds and smells in the kitchen where East Indian food is prepared by locals, and shared with dozens of Yorkton residents. You’ll also learn a bit about soapbox derby races.  Thanks to SaskCulture for the support given to help these events happen.





SaskScapes is a podcast featuring the stories of arts, culture and heritage in Saskatchewan. The series is produced and hosted by Kevin Power.  Visit Click on the Community Engagement Animateur link to view the work being done by all three of the SaskCulture CEA’s.

Host: Kevin Power

Music provided by Jeffery Straker

SaskScapes is also available through the iTunes Store on Stitcher Radio and TuneIn RadioSaskScapes now has its own app for both apple and android devices available in the iTunes store and Google Play.

Follow SaskScapes on Twitter @saskscapes

Culture Days in Saskatchewan – 5 Years and Growing

Clay workshop at the MacKenzie Art Gallery - Photo by Shawn Fulton Highland Dancing - Photo by Shawn Fulton

It’s been over five years since Saskatchewan joined forces with other provinces across the country to host Culture Days – a three-day celebration, held annually the last weekend in September, which encourages the public to engage in the cultural life of our communities.

“Culture Days emerged as a way to highlight the diversity of cultural activity available in the province, and as a proactive idea to help develop new audiences,” explains Rose Gilks, general manager, SaskCulture and member of the national Culture Days Board of Directors. “After five years, the numbers and testimonies show that Culture Days has contributed to a steady growth in cultural awareness, and increased participation by residents in the cultural life of their communities.”

Thanks to SaskCulture’s Culture Days Funding Assistance Grant, many organizations have received grants to help them engage new audiences in interactive cultural experiences during the Culture Days weekend.  Since its inception in 2012, SaskCulture has given out over $400,000 to groups supporting Culture Days.  “Thanks to this grant, we have also had many new groups learn more about what SaskCulture has to offer,” adds Gilks.  And, this support continues.

2014 Culture Days in Saskatchewan

In 2014, Culture Days continued to gain momentum in Saskatchewan.  The number of registered activities grew, social media connections flourished, animateur liaisons developed, and participation increased.  Promotion of the 2014 campaign included a participation guide flyer, “save the date” postcards, a promotional insert which was delivered to over 300,000 Saskatchewan households with SaskEnergy bills, paid Facebook and Twitter campaigns, ads placed in rural Saskatchewan weekly newspapers, comprehensive event guides for Saskatoon and Regina which were inserted in the Prairie Dog, Planet S, the QC and Bridges, highway billboards as well as reusable vinyl banners and blank posters for use by activity organizers.

Culture Days 2014 by the numbers:

  • 263 registered activities
  • 50 communities
  • 91 activity organizers
  • 960 new Facebook likes, 645 new Twitter followers
  • 870 video views on YouTube with an estimated 1,423 minutes watched by viewers
  • 44 episodes of the SaskScapes podcast produced with over 12,000 downloads
  • 26,264 total estimated attendance at Culture Days activities in Saskatchewan

Click on the graphs below to enlarge them…


Number of Participants

Culture Days Activities Registered


Capturing Our Stories by Evie

I had an incredible time traveling the province these past several months, meeting and working with people who created powerful personal digital stories. To give you a glimpse of what I experienced as a Culture Days Animateur, I’ve put together this digital story. Thank you, Saskatchewan, for the wonderful adventure.

Materials used to make this story:

Camera: iPhone 4S & 5

Recorder: Zoom H4n

Computer: MacBook Pro

Audio Editing Software: Audacity

Video Editing Software: iMovie

Copyright-Free Music: Jamendo


The Things Bea Arthur Ate by Coby

Many people, mostly kids, who’ve taken my digital storytelling workshops have done their stories on their family pets. At my final workshop as a Culture Days Animateur, held at the Queen City Hub, Coby Stephenson wrote, voiced and produced this funny and touching digital story about her dog, Bea Arthur. Bea Arthur is a Labrador Retriever who has destroyed many of Coby’s belongings, but, as Coby puts it, “out of destruction comes the strength to let things go.”

Bea Arthur

Youth Mural Project in Shaunavon

On a warm, sunny morning in July, about a dozen youth gathered in front of the Grand Coteau Heritage & Cultural Centre to paint a mural. Over the next several weeks, youth from a variety of cultural backgrounds came together to transform a blank sheet of plywood on the side of a local building into a vibrant painting. While I was in Shaunavon this summer, I met up with some of the youth and organizers of this project, and produced this digital story.


Sunday at the LMLCC

I spent the Sunday of Culture Days Weekend at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre (LMLCC), for a full day of Poetry Readings, an Artist Talk, a Gallery Reception, and a workshop on Paper Quilting.

The Paper Quilting Workshop I facilitated incorporated a Culture Days Activity that happened the previous Friday: A Photographic Scavenger Hunt.   From this activity, participants brought their photos of the Lake and surrounding area to the workshop.

We took those photos and adhered them to various types of paper, then layered other items around the photo (i.e., pieces of fabric, buttons, lace or ribbon). Once we were satisfied with our assemblage of tidbits, we then used a darning needle and thick crochet thread to quilt around the collage.  Although we didn’t have any experienced quilters in the group, you couldn’t tell.  Most of the ladies were very adept at stitching and in no time had a small Paper Quilt.



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Printmaking at Traditions

Traditions Hand Craft Gallery, on 13th Ave in Regina, was one of nine Galleries that participated in an “ArtWalk” on the Saturday of of Culture Days Weekend. In essence, people were encouraged to engage in a self-guided tour, using the ArtWalk Map, and visit all nine Galleries: Assiniboia Gallery, Dunlop Art Gallery, Hague Gallery, Mysteria Gallery, Nouveau Gallery, Sakewewak Artists Collective, SLATE Fine Art Gallery, Singing Winds Gallery at Tatanka Boutique and Traditions Hand Craft Gallery.

In celebration of the ArtWalk, Traditions Hand Craft Gallery invited two Performance Artists and myself to add to the festivities.

While the two Performance Artists braved the cold, wet weather in front of the Gallery, I had the luxury of a little table set up inside the shop.  I gave brief tutorials on how to make a simple styrofoam print and then encouraged participants to make a few.

Again, despite the weather there was a constant stream of participants at my table for the afternoon.  People of all ages tried their hand at making prints of patterns, animals, and other inspirational images.


Artist Talk at Shurniak

On the Friday night of Culture Days Weekend three artists (myself, Jay Kimball, and Patricia Holdsworth) spoke at the Shurniak Gallery in Assiniboia.  All three of us have current exhibitions at the Gallery so the Reception was perfect timing with Culture Days.

I spoke mostly about the process involved in my artwork.  Jay Kimball spoke about the theory and philosophy behind his ceramics. And Patricia Holdsworth addressed the composition and inspiration of her photography.

The Gallery provided two fun Culture Days cakes, and many other goodies, and attendance was good.

Although the Reception was brief (7 – 9 p.m.) the event passed quickly, as there was much conversation and visiting.

Thanks Shurniak Gallery.

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My Contribution to Waldheim’s Yarn Bombing

On Tuesday, September 23, I began my journey down to the southern part of the province for a series of Culture Days activities. On my way, I stopped in at Waldheim and installed my contribution to the group’s yarn bombing project: two ‘pole cozies’ for the front of their school.

When I wasn’t providing instruction on how to knit to the Home Ec Class or the Knitting Group, I diligently worked on completing these knitted tubes for the front of the school.

Installing my work alongside the other trees that had been yarn bombed by groups of students, families (one tree was completed by a niece, an Aunt, and the Grandma), as well as school staff (the Janitor, an EA, and Teacher) gave me a sense of community and accomplishment.



Flying Kites in Biggar

My Facebook Post for September 22 reads as follows:

“That awesome feeling when you teach sixty-three kids how to make their own kite, then go outside and listen to their squeals and watch their smiles as they fly those kites.”


First thing in the morning I had a workshop with the Grade One class at St. Gabriel’s School in Biggar.  There were twenty students and we had an hour to assemble our kites.

My knowledge from a previous Culture Days Activity–the Windscape Kite Festival in Swift Current–came in handy. I had the parts pre-cut and ready to go, and I had the confidence of two days of kite-making behind me.

Next, I did a workshop with forty-three students from Biggar Central School.  Because they were an older group of students I included them in the process a bit more.  No pre-cut parts for them.  I gave them templates to trace as well as ribbon and string to cut.  We still had an hour to assemble to the kites, so it was a bit more intense considering the size of the group and the added workload.  But, just like the Grade One class of St. Gabriel’s this group of Grades Four and Five assembled their kites in a little over the allotted time.

While the kids finished up I took a lunch break.

When I returned to the school my chaperone and I walked in the direction of a large field that connects the two schools, which is hidden behind a hill.

As we walked up the hill I heard the students before I saw them–squeals of delight, laughter, running, and play.

I rushed to the top and was thrilled to see sixty-three students enjoying the simple pleasure of flying a kite (and, indeed, most of the kites did take flight).

Some of the students were running and laughing out loud, while others stood still and enjoyed the experience in silence with grin.

Either way, it was an enjoyable afternoon.  And the students learnt how much fun can be had with a little string, ribbon, a plastic bag, and a couple of sticks.

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