New arts council president
The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council has a new president, but she’s not a new face on Merritt’s arts scene.
Chelsea Werrun started volunteering with the arts council shortly after she moved to town two years ago to be with her boyfriend.
“I was thinking of moving here, and about three months after I did, I found the arts council, volunteered, then became a board member, and it just grew from there,” the Watson Lake, Yukon, native said.
Werrun’s interest in working in arts organizations grew from a passion for creativity that sparked when she worked for the non profit ArtStarts in Schools in Vancouver.
“I’ve always been an avid reader, I love music and I’ve always had an interest in the arts,” the 31-year-old said.
Werrun, who has a degree in sociology and anthropology, said she has several goals during her tenure as the NVCAC’s president.
“One of my goals with the arts council is to get someone like Shane Koyczan or the Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam team here,” she said. “I’ve always loved spoken word and storytelling. I think it’d be really neat to be able to bring that into Merritt. It’s so important to be able to bring high-calibre performing artists to Merritt. Golden, Kelowna and Kamloops have such great events, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to do that.”
Meanwhile, Werrun will be busy with the cultural mapping project that locates and documents the city’s cultural resources, including local sources of fashion, music and crafts. The City of Merritt commissioned the project to develop an arts, culture and heritage policy. She said the organization is also planning free community events to celebrate the arts council’s 30th anniversary later this year.
And, to top it all off, she works entirely as a volunteer. During the day, Werrun is a client services assistant for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
However, Werrun said it’s the dedicated volunteers and the community they serve that keep her striving to promote arts in the Nicola Valley.
The group is running two surveys online to gauge the public’s perception of the arts council in order to bring relevant entertainment here. Plus, people who fill out the surveys can enter to win two tickets to any concert series event.
“We will take all feedback,” she said. “Anything will help us to grow and be better — if it’s an interest with more live theatre or more live events, or working on the community concert series and bringing new, fresh artists — it’s always welcome. Right now we’re doing a lot of stuff with the gallery to grow it and maybe offer some more art classes. We’re really big on making your ideas happen.”
For more information about volunteering or to provide feedback on the NVCAC, visit nvartscouncil.com.