Enriching Lives | Building Community

The Arts in all mediums are an essential part of building strong communities and embracing the unique culture that exists within them.

I had the joy of wandering around Bird Island capturing some images for a magazine article and I have to admit, I fell in love with what some would call a dying small town. However, I saw just the opposite. The architecture, the gardens, Mariachi music drifting through the air, kids running through the parks, the setting sun casting the perfect glow across the grain elevator, streets lined with dozens of trees in full bloom, families cheering on the baseball team, master gardeners hard at work by the fair ground entrance, and the glow of Athmann’s Restaurant sign after dark. I couldn’t walk more than a few houses without seeing someone growing their own food, even if it was just a couple tomatoes in planters outside their front door.

What do all of those things have in common? They all play a significant role in the unique culture of this community. They’re all beautifully artful in their own way. To say I fell in love with this small town would be an understatement.

As a graphic designer and garden designer, I suddenly couldn’t help but walk past a vacant lot and imagine a gorgeous edible landscape with artful places to sit, play music, and consume beloved family food. I am very close to grabbing my shovel and flash mob planting a space in the middle of the night.

My point is, art in its many forms inspires. It creates an atmosphere where people can feel free to express themselves in a beautiful way, and the Cultural Centre serves as a catalyst. Through art exhibits, providing place for youth and adults to create art, make music, learn to cook and gather for community events; you will gain skills and leave inspired to find the unique cultural within your community as well.

The Cultural Centre is more than just a building with art on the walls. It has served as a reminder of the importance of living life together and serving one another with our unique abilities and giftings. And a community joined together in with the common purpose of enriching the lives of one another is truly a gift to all.

Click here to learn more about what the Cultural Centre has to offer.

Why Art?

The process or the appreciation of creative expression is a gift; a gift granted to humans throughout time. The Bhimbetka and Daraki Petroglyphs (290,000 – 700,000 BCE) found in two ancient quartzite caves in India during the 1990’s inspires us to ask who created these petroglyphs, was it utilitarian or simply creative expression?

As in ancient times, the artist creates a story through sculpture, paints, found objects, earth, paper etc., it doesn’t matter the medium used; the artist for a brief period in time focuses on creating an expression of the human experience.

In 2019 the Cultural Centre’s monthly exhibits ranged from Trish Bielke’s weavings, to color theorist Bud Setzepfandt’s work, to Michele Steffen’s realism, to Renae Saunders’ watercolors – these amazing artists told visual stories and sometimes provoked harmony or dissonance depending on the viewer. And that dear friends, is the purpose of art – to engage the viewer in a discussion with the artist even though the artist is not physically present.  

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”  Thomas Merton