Uncover your Inner Artist with Sarah Ronald at Culture Days

Sarah Ronald Culture Days

Want to be an artist? or convinced you don’t know which end of the brush to use? Well, this weekend local artist Sarah Ronald is giving you an opportunity to express yourself at two of downtown Port Coquitlam’s Culture Days events. Her two installations, inspired by her own love of 3D and interactive art, will be open on Saturday, September 28 and 29, 2013 in Veterans Park (2580 Shaughnessy Street, near Leigh Square). Sarah will also be on hand 11:00am to 3:00pm on each day.

Sarah Ronald, in disguise, leading the Blackberry Artist's Society at the Port Moody Centennial Parade

Sarah Ronald, in disguise, leading the Blackberry Artist’s Society at the Port Moody Centennial Parade

Culture Days, which started in 2009, is an opportunity for Canadians to participate in and appreciate art and culture in all its many forms in this country. Indeed, this is one of the aspects that Sarah promotes with her installations, encouraging visitors to take full advantage of the free events to make far-reaching creative connections.

Her Inner Artist installation invites the public to experiment with letting their creativity out in a safe and non-threatening atmosphere. Participants can use water and a brush to paint whatever they want to create on the panels, safe in the knowledge that their marks are temporary and will fade … unless they want to capture them for Instagram or Facebook perhaps?

The second installation is the Kudos Wall, a chalk board surface that visitors can write their personal thanks to someone significant in their lives, to give visible kudos for a guiding moment or positive impact. Sarah tapped into her own feelings of thankfulness towards mentors who have guided her in her personal growth, and translated them into an interactive piece where the rest of us can express own own gratitude.

by Sarah RonaldCentral to Sarah’s inspiration was the idea of using materials that do not intimidate – who doesn’t love using a chalkboard? Her installations give permission to ordinary people, who don’t consider themselves arty, to be artists. “I almost always run into people who don’t consider themselves worthy of being visually expressive,” she says before explaining her hope that visitors to the installations will feel encouraged and welcome to create their own art.

Sarah, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UBC Okanagan, is active within the arts community locally. She has been an instructor at Port Moody Arts Centre, Leigh Square and The ACT in Maple Ridge, as well as sitting on arts advisory committees. She is currently president of the Blackberry Artist’s Society, a local cooperative that operates out of Port Moody Arts Centre. Local teens will know her as a Fine Arts Diploma Examiner for the International Baccalaureate high school certification.

Kudos Wall by Sarah Ronald

Kudos Wall by Sarah Ronald

As well as the community benefitting from an abundance of artists and art in their midst over the Culture Days weekend, Sarah believes that the celebration is also vital to the artists themselves. She feels that it is extremely important that arts organizations and artists themselves get out of their studios to present their work.

The opportunity runs both ways; events like Culture Days give artists themselves the chance to take part by creating work in a medium they would not normally be able to present. In Sarah’s case, this work is installation art, not something she’s had much opportunity to work on until now as it can be challenging to find a suitable venue and finance the work. “I have been extremely fortunate this year to present my installations in Veterans Park,” she explains, noting her own gratitude toward the City of Port Coquitlam and the Community Cultural Development Investment Program grant it awarded her.

Without events like Culture Days, the opportunity to present work interactively with the public is lost. And , as Sarah notes, “The cultural world only grows and expands when new influences are introduced.”

So go on, get out and influence some art in your community this weekend. Don’t forget to check out the installations in Veterans Park and see if your inner artist wants to come out and play. I’m sure it will.

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