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COVID19 and The Arts – When Will Life Be Back to Normal



We are all wondering when life will get back to normal and what normal will look like as it seems everything has shifted into another dimension.  Our artists speculated on what will happen to the arts once people are once again permitted to gather again.

Independent Film Maker, Todd Davies, has a upbeat take on life after Covid19 was that we should be prepared to celebrate life and the arts.  He says

When the dust settles on this Covid Crisis, We all need to rush back into life with the fullest of hearts. Get out and celebrate the the arts by going to the theatre, the movies, the concerts in doing so celebrate life once again. That’s the best thing any of us could do.”

Not everybody is finding the silver lining…

David Geertz of Penmar Community Arts Society says

The loss or absorption of small to midsize arts groups will cause a melting pot effect, which is the absolute death knell for anyone who works in arts as it simply creates mediocrity within the form.  We will see the decline of activations, sponsorships and partnerships which all arts orgnaizations rely on. When they are hurting, they are the first ones to go.   We’ve been told as of yesterday that one of our largest supporters is now cutting their own staff back to 2 days a week and we were informed that they needed to circle back in 2021.

If and when people are allowed to go to large public gatherings again, I’m sure that there will be very expensive safeguards put in place to make sure people feel safe.  This will drive up the cost of the event and simply make it impossible for lots of event planners to continue operating without significantly raising prices.  Additonally, I think it will be quite some time before the majority of people will have the financial capacity for discretionary spending due to work shortages and layoffs.”


“Financially this will impact me for a long time to come, not just a month or two.  As for dance classes this will totally affect it. More classes will be online and those with already a decent following or already started online platforms to teach will have the up on people that have not.”  Natasha Gorrie, Dance, Choreographer and Teacher.

Mark Manning thinks we will see a great increase in hygiene.

“People selling tickets wearing gloves, more hand sanitizer, rules about seating, and new rules on signing autographs and meeting performers after the shows. Not saying all of these are for sure but they are possibilities based on how extreme everyone feels after all of this.”


Re-invigorating consumer spending into the arts as well as local and other government art investments. Local governments for example though their expenses right now are budgeted for staff support, face an integral revenue decline at the same time. Investments in the arts in the future could be compromised. But the BC Government to a certain extent has kept arts and culture funding a priority through Creative BC funding – however not all art and culture organizations are eligible.”

 Anita Hubberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade

Sami Ghawi, Director of FUSIONpresents and the Manager of SBOT Music City Centre sees this as an opportunity.

“Live streaming and online content has proven its value in the last 2 weeks.  From the biggest artists in the world to local musicians, everyone realizes that they need to feed their community.  Live streaming has given all artists the opportunity to connect with not only their super fans, but also new viewers and listeners who are just looking for something to do.  The move to online streaming has also encouraged a huge learning among artists, many of whom had probably never done it before and will now find it part of their regular entertainment offering moving forward.”

So what can we do to support our struggling artists and arts organizations?

Sami Ghawi would like to invite the world into his world.

Like many organizations, we’ve moved most of services online.   We offer a variety of online music lessons, including guitar, piano, bass, drums and music production and we highly encourage those who have always wanted to learn music to do it now!   We also post multiple quality music content weekly through our social media channels, so everyone is invited to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.”

Connect with FUSIONpresents:

Facebook @FUSIONpresents

Instagram @FUSIONpresents

YouTube @FUSIONpresents




David Geertz and Dionne Costanza from Penmar Community Arts Society wants you to look at their music lottery program.

We really like it if people could support us financially in a couple of different ways. Here is how we are raising funds needed to continue operations and support the artists and artist support workers in BC.

We have our Music Lottery program going online. This will allow us to fund things like virtual concerts that are of a premium quality and offer them to people for free – just as long as people buy enough lottery tickets. Think of us as just being like the Canucks 50/50 that went online but only for the Arts.

If you’re a business owner and would like to help we have a handful of activation/sponsorship solutions that are being offered that would also be mutually beneficial. ”

Buy a subscription to Penmar Community Arts Society’s Music Lottery Program at

Make tax deductible donation to Penmar through our Canada Helps Page at –

Gloria and Jeff in Royal Canadian Theatre Companies production of Screwball Comedy

As Ellie King of Royal Canadian Theatre Company says there are lots of things you can do right now to support them through this difficult time.

To support us we need people to understand how fragile the life of an artist is, and to come to our shows when we get back into action. Please don’t ask for refunds – consider donating the cost of your tickets instead. Think about the future – if the theatre companies die now because they have no money to make art going forward, where will you go to see live theatre after this crisis is over? Where will tv shows and films come from? It can take years to build a company and minutes to wipe it out. For us – if people are able, please donate. If you can’t then let us know how much you like our work – how we’ve entertained you, how you’d miss us if we went away. You’d be surprised how good it is to hear that we are wanted plus those testimonials can help us secure funding in the future. “

Ulee of Semiahmoo Arts Society has art for sale.

“All of the artwork at our art shows is also for sale. By purchasing a painting, a pottery piece or photograph, people not only support Semiahmoo Arts, but also the artist. 80% of the sale goes to the artist. We keep 20% to cover our costs.”

The Young People’s Operas Society will be going ahead with their production of The Sound Of Music Concert in the Summer or the Fall.  Their June production, Die Fledermaus, will go ahead as planned.

Check out their webpage at www.

Natalie Pardalis is offering online arts opportunities at

Chris Thornley has a wonderful, community spirit attitude.  He says

“There are some things we can do …if possible one can donate to their favourite group. I believe very strongly in the arts AND believe the government should be much more supportive to the arts specially in the City of Surrey . I would hope that we would transcend any “us and them” attitudes. Sometimes in business I would adopt a policy of if we are going to share the good times, we should also share the bad times.  So in the end we should all do our best to help each other.  One thing I will be doing is offering our musical talent to those that need it for free. For example the world famous “Club Royale“ or heading down to our favourite restaurant “Uli’s” and providing some entertainment.“

Anita Hubberman of the Surrey Board of Trade is encouraging people to support the arts right now.

“Listen to music concerts online, social media and build awareness of the importance of the arts during this time and to our social and economic future, and if possible participate in some online art funding campaigns.”

Royal Canadian Theatre Company

“We exist to bring people joy by the means of all-inclusive live theatre entertainment. When this crisis is over, we fully expect to be there for our audiences once again. And the best means of support is to buy a ticket come out to a show when we’re back, be a season subscriber or consider becoming a sponsor.”

Linda McCrossin, President of the Board for Royal Canadian Theater Company

Todd Davies, Film Maker

In the wise words of the writer and producer, Todd Davies, we will leave you with this thought.

“I believe we will endure. As artists and as people we always have. For now we must be patient, kind, and loving to one another.”

Shara Nixon loves to hear and repeat the stories of people’s lives and cultural viewpoints. She enjoys deep conversations and people who hold strong viewpoints. In her day job she is a social worker for business owners, helping them meet their goals. As an insomniac, she writes at night to clear her head. She is punctuationally challenged and uses too many !!!. She also believes in creative spelling as an art form. Her super-power is in connecting like-minded people and communicating with an intent to learn instead of respond. She writes about relationships, business savvy, online dating, finance and general things that piss her off. Shara believes that key to peace is education and connection!!!

Arts and Entertainment

Feed Your Inner Artist with Surrey Art Gallery’s Art Takeout Courses!



Surrey, BC – Explore your creativity this summer with Surrey Art Gallery’s new Art Takeout courses. These six-week hands-on, interactive programs are a fun way for all to try new mediums and artistic techniques at home. Participants pick up their course materials from Surrey Art Gallery, and each box includes art supplies, links to video lessons, and the opportunity to join in a live online session, to share artwork created.

There are two Art Takeout courses to choose from. Drawing in the Field focuses on learning and practicing drawing skills, including en plein air (in the open air drawing), art journaling, sketching, blind contour, multiple perspectives, and more! This six-week course, led by artist educator Alexandra Thomson, runs from July 20 to August 24, costs $15.

Hand Building with Clay! reimagines the sculptural possibilities of clay. Inspired by contemporary ceramic art, participants learn a variety of techniques including pinch, coil, and slab construction, as well as surface pattern techniques with artist educator Amelia Butcher. This six-week course runs from July 27 to August 31 and the $35 cost includes firing and glazing as well.

“For all ages and abilities, Surrey Art Gallery’s Art Takeout courses invite you to try new artmaking techniques while having fun with family and friends during the summer,” says Alanna Edwards, Surrey Art Gallery Engagement Facilitator. “It’s a way to still feel connected to each other and the artmaking community during this time.”

“I love the feeling of being outside, with the sky, the earth, and all the plants,” says Drawing in the Field artist educator Alexandra Thomson. “Drawing outside is an amazing feeling. I feel connected to the thing I’m drawing. It’s a really careful observation that has an almost meditative quality.”

Art Takeout boxes can be picked up from July 13 for Drawing in in the Field and July 20 for Hand Building with Clay at Surrey Art Gallery. To register for either program, phone the Call Centre at 604 501 5100, or sign up online at

About Surrey Art Gallery | Internationally recognized for its award-winning programs, Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue in Surrey, is the second largest public art museum in Metro Vancouver. Founded in 1975, the Gallery presents contemporary art by local, national, and international artists, including digital and audio art.

Its extensive public programs for children through to adults aim to engage the public in an ongoing conversation about issues and ideas that affect our communities and to provide opportunities to interact with artists and the artistic process. Admission is free. Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the City of Surrey, Province of BC through BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

In response to the temporary closure of our exhibition and artmaking spaces, Surrey Art Gallery presents Art Together, a series of online programs that explore art and artists in the community, spark the imagination, and celebrate the ways that art can impact our lives. Although the Surrey Arts Centre is temporarily closed, Surrey Art Gallery is open online. Visit us virtually, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Arts and Entertainment

Stewart Farm to Offer Guided Outdoor Tours



A New Way to Experience the Heritage Site

Surrey, BC – Starting July 14, Historic Stewart Farm will offer guided outdoor tours of the popular heritage site. The new modified service follows new protocols to ensure community safety as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Visitors must pre-register, with groups limited to 10 people. Tours of the historic site will be available Tuesday to Friday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:30pm.

Registrations times will be available every thirty minutes with the final tour beginning at 3:00pm. Guests are required to pre-register online with their MySurrey account. Registration opens July 6.

“With people staying safe and closer to home this summer, I encourage Surrey residents to get out and explore all that Surrey has to offer,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “Historic Stewart Farm’s heritage tours are a great option for families to discover our local history and enjoy some time outdoors.”

Highlights of the 30-minute outdoor tour include the 1894 Farmhouse, Pole Barn, heirloom gardens, root cellar, boat building and former threshing shed. Tours will lead visitors around the picturesque site, exploring the grounds and the history of the area, the Stewart Family, and the farm itself.

Exclusively outdoors, visitors are advised to dress for the weather to maximize their tour experience. A visit through the heritage Pole barn will be included, marked with a one-way route to ensure physical distancing. All other buildings will be closed. Historic Stewart Farm is a one-of-a-kind heritage venue located at 13723 Crescent Road within Elgin Heritage Park, along the Nicomekl River. Entrance is free.

For more information, call 604-591-4627. or visit
Follow the Farm on Facebook at @HeritageSurrey or on Instagram at @StewartFarmBC.

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Arts and Entertainment

Big Splash is Back for Another Hot Season – Social Distancing Style




TSAWWASSEN, BC – Metro Vancouver’s favourite water park is reopening for the season on Canada Day, July 1st, 2020! The 7-acre resort-inspired park features 13 body and tube waterslides for kids and adults of all ages. Due to COVID-19, the park will operate at 35% capacity with extra safety precautions to ensure everyone can enjoy their summer, safely, 7 days a week.

This year, Big Splash has made several important changes to ensure their staff and guests can feel safe while enjoying the sunshine and water slides. They will be conducting temperature checks and screenings on all employees and guests at entry. They have added hand sanitizing stations, outdoor showers, and created one-directional walkways and paths to waterslides.

There will be limits on how many people can be in a pool and hot tub at once. And this year, families will be allowed to bring in 1 cooler of food and drinks (no outside alcohol allowed). To ensure admission, guests are encouraged to book a cabana or table online for a specific date and admission tickets in the same transaction.

This is the perfect summer venue for birthday parties, family reunions, and corporate events. With a full-service cabana and tent rentals available, you can sit back and relax as you and your loved ones have fun. Big Splash offers a fully licenced bar and patio, with delicious summer-inspired cocktails and ice-cold beers on tap!

With two eateries available on site you can enjoy summer favourites made in-house with burgers, pizza, salads, poutines, fish & chips and more! “2020 has been a difficult year for many, and we hope that Big Splash can make a difference. With safety in mind, we plan to open our water park this year at 35% capacity to allow families to enjoy the sunshine and have a break while working together to flatten the curve.

We want to thank our first responders for the hard work they have been doing and want to assure our guests that we will do everything to keep our facility safe for everyone.”- Tamara Tam, Director of Operations. To learn more about the safety precautions, directions to the park, hours of operation, ticket information, ride information and more, please visit our website

About Big Splash Water Park | Owned and operated by Executive Hotels & Resorts since 2017, Big Splash Water Park is a Metro Vancouver favourite, located in sunny Tsawwassen. Offering endless fun and water activities for people of all ages, the 7-acre resort-style park has 13 water slides to choose from.

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Arts and Entertainment

Surrey Libraries Launches Takeout Service



Patrons can order books, DVDs, Summer Reading Club materials, and more.

Surrey, BC – Surrey Libraries has announced the launch of contactless Takeout service at six branches serving Surrey’s town centres. City Centre, Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, and Semiahmoo library branches will be providing the service starting June 26.

“Whether you pick up a book to enrich your personal knowledge, for your scholastic studies, or for the pure joy of reading, I know the act of holding and opening up a new book is one of the great and simple pleasures of life,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Not everyone likes reading on digital devices and many people in our community rely on our libraries for books for themselves and their children. I am delighted that Surrey Libraries will be offering this takeout service, starting just in time for children to join in on Summer Reading Club activities.”

“The response from our community through the Resuming Library Services Survey was clear,” said Neelam Sahota, chair of the Board of Trustees of Surrey Libraries. “People are eager to borrow physical materials like books and DVDs and return the items they’ve had at home since March. However, people also told us that they’re not ready to come back into the branches for programming or browsing just yet.”

To access the service, library members can either call one of the six participating branches or fill out an online form at Patrons will be able to pick up their holds and return items when they arrange a pickup time.

Borrowers will also enjoy an extended due date of September 8 on newly borrowed materials. All materials returned to the library will be held in a 72-hour quarantine before being put back into circulation. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel; therefore, the 72-hour quarantine will provide ample time to ensure that trace amounts of virus on books and other materials are eradicated.

With regard to reopening branches, the Library is taking a phased and cautious approach. “The health and safety of our staff and patrons is our top priority as we implement our reopening plans,” said Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian. “We have added safety protocols such as physical distancing, quarantining materials, proper hand hygiene, frequent surface sanitization, and installing plexiglass barriers at service counters.

We remain committed to providing as much service as possible. We’ll evaluate the Takeout service and may extend to other branches, and we’re working toward reopening some library branches after Labour Day.”

For people who enjoy digital materials, Surrey Libraries has tripled the number of eBooks and eAudiobooks ordered each month, substantially increased the size of the eSuperloan collection, and launched weekly titles available without holds for quicker access to new reading material and popular titles.

For more information, visit

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Arts and Entertainment

Summer is Back at Arts Umbrella



Due to COVID-19, our original Summer Camp schedule was made obsolete. This, however, did not stop us from continuing to evolve and adapt our curriculum to new learning environments. Our new summer offerings include a mix of online learning and in-studio classes that accommodate new safety measures as approved by the Province of BC. Our classes follow the same excellent curriculum and high-quality instruction that Arts Umbrella is known for. Below is a snapshot of our offerings.

Art & Design

From Drawing & Painting, to Mixed Media, to Cartooning and Comic Creation, we’re offering a mix of small in- person studio classes and online programs to provide young people with visual arts skills and techniques, as well as inspire new levels of creativity. We are also offering an online Drawing & Painting Intensive for teens (13-19) in August. In this program, artist-instructors will guide students in independent research into artists and history.

From that, inspiration and knowledge will inform students to create original works at home during online classes. Participants will also investigate the ideas in their work, while refining fundamental skills such as composition, design, and colour theory. In conversation with their peers, students will also explore and practice constructive critique.


We have reduced class sizes for our Junior and Teen Summer Dance Intensives. As always, this program features classes in ballet, character, modern, repertoire, and jazz with special guest instructors and Arts Umbrella faculty. These Intensives offer young dancers a comprehensive way to maintain fitness and prepare for regular classes in September.

Theatre & Music

From Acting to Musical Theatre, and Shakespeare to Puppetry, our Summer Session Theatre & Music classes give young artists a strong foundation for further classes. We also offer a number of in-person and online Intensives in for more experienced students. Whether students are interested in acting for the stage or film and TV, these programs can help bring their skills to the next level.

This year, we’re also offering some new online programs for students who want to further their singing and musical theatre skills: Song Study, Voice Lessons, and Curbside Cabaret.

Arts Umbrella is back for Summer, with classes starting July 6, 2020. Registration is now open for online, outdoor, and small in-person classes at:

Over the past few months, Arts Umbrella has been testing innovative ways to bring arts education to young people through online programs. This summer, children, youth, and teens can take online classes in Art & Design, and Theatre & Music. In addition to the online experience, Arts Umbrella will also be open for some small in-person classes in a safe studio environment.

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