Patty Wellborn

Email: patty-wellborn@news.ok.ubc.ca


 

Site/ation, a laser etching on satin ribbon with wax, created by Tania Willard.

Site/ation, a laser etching on satin ribbon with wax, created by Tania Willard.

Month-long program offers courses, lectures, art shows and creative opportunities

UBC Okanagan’s Indigenous Art Intensive gathers artists, curators, writers, students and scholars to engage in contemporary ideas and dialogue rooted in Indigenous contemporary art. Since 2014 the intensive has been offered at UBC Okanagan, located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation.

This year’s online Indigenous Art Intensive broadly engages the theme Site/ation, explains Tania Willard, assistant professor of visual arts in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. Participants will discuss ideas and ways to connect to place through Indigenous territoriality — to be grounded in land, voice and language, and reconnect to nurturing traditions and beyond.

The intensive also features a series of world-renowned speakers, a variety of related undergraduate and graduate credit courses including English, Indigenous studies, sound art, creative writing, and performance and studio arts.

“Indigenous contemporary art is a driving force of culture, exhibition and enriched programming,” says Willard, who is director of the intensive. “Our annual program brings together leaders, communities, students and scholars for deep conversations about the ways in which we learn through creative practice and contribute to wider communities.”

The month-long intensive has hosted many celebrities, such as the late performance artist legend James Luna and established leaders in Canadian contemporary art like Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau and Adrian Stimson. In recent years, up to 25 artists and 200 students have participated in the intensive, sharing unique experiences like readings on the beach of Okanagan Lake, harvesting local berries, artistic exhibitions and an Indigenous hip-hop show in downtown Kelowna.

Taking place in May and June, the intensive will be online and feature artists creating new works and sharing those with UBCO students during class time. Exhibitions will include a showing in the FINA Gallery at UBCO and one in a unique mobile Indigenous art gallery at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA). These are in partnership with the RCA and the Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association.

Panels, artist talks and keynotes will delve into curatorial practice, decolonial aesthetics, land-based teachings, practices and performance. All of these sessions will be available to the public online via live stream and recorded videos.

This year’s artists include Scott Benesiinaabandan, Roxanne Charles, Camille Georgeson-Usher, Maureen Gruben, Suzanne Kite, Peter Morin, Christine Howard Sandoval, Kristabelle Stewart and Madeline Terbasket. Live-streamed keynote addresses will feature Leanne Betamasosake Simpson, Jolene Rickard and Bonaventure Ndikung.

For more information on the events and artists, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/indigenous-art-intensive

Events, programming and artist take-overs will also be featured on Instagram at: instagram.com/indigenous_art_ubco

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

Author Kevin Chong to speak about writing and teaching in a pandemic

What: Sharon Thesen Lecture
Who: UBCO Creative Writing Program
When: Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m.
Where: Online via Zoom

UBC Okanagan’s Creative Writing Program is hosting its second annual Sharon Thesen Lecture with Creative Writing Professor and author Kevin Chong.

Writer Kevin Wong will host UBCO’s Sharon Thesen Lecture virtually on Thursday.

Writer Kevin Wong will host UBCO’s Sharon Thesen Lecture virtually on Thursday.

Chong will give a virtual lecture titled “In the Middle of it All: On Writing, Teaching, And Middles During A Pandemic.” Told as an auto-fictional story about the rivalry between two middle-aged, mid-career writers, this lecture looks at craft, ideological and technological issues faced by writers and writing teachers in the pandemic.

“We are excited to once again be honouring Sharon and all that she’s done to establish the Creative Writing Program at UBC Okanagan,” says Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) Professor Nancy Holmes.

Sharon Thesen, a renowned Canadian poet and editor, was the first full professor in UBCO’s Department of Creative Studies and is now a UBC professor emerita.

Chong has written six books of fiction and nonfiction, and his most recent publication is his novel The Plague. His titles have been named books of the year by the Globe and Mail, National Post and Amazon.ca, and they’ve been listed for a CBC prize, a BC Book Prize, and a National Magazine Award. His writing has also been optioned for film and TV, as well as published in the United States, Europe and Australia.

“We are so pleased that while fairly new to our faculty, Kevin Chong is doing this year’s Sharon Thesen Lecture,” remarks Holmes. “Since he works in both fiction and non-fiction, we’re eager to see how he is going to combine all he knows about both of these genres in his lecture.”

“The event is a great opportunity for an accomplished writer to share a wealth of knowledge — it’ll be fascinating,” she adds.

The lecture is part of the FCCS Spring Festival of the Arts, and is free and open to the public. It will take place on Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m.

To register or find out more, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/authors

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

There were more than 140 submissions for this year’s Okanagan Short Story Contest.

There were more than 140 submissions for this year’s Okanagan Short Story Contest.

Judge Frances Greenslade congratulates the region’s many talented writers

What: Okanagan Short Story Contest winners to be announced
Who: UBCO creative writing program
When: Friday, April 16 at 7 p.m.
Where: Online via Zoom

It’s time for a virtual drum roll.

UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) is hosting an event Friday where it will share the winners of the 2021 Okanagan Short Story Contest.

The annual contest awards the best new short stories by fiction writers in BC’s Southern Interior, including residents east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the US border and south of Williams Lake. Past winners have gone on to publish with Penguin Random House, Arsenal Pulp Press, NeWest Press as well as numerous magazines and journals nationally and internationally.

This year, a total of 140 short story entries were submitted for the adult category, along with 82 stories for the high school category.

“We were blown away by the number of submissions this year,” says FCCS Professor Nancy Holmes. “Maybe COVID-19 has given people a bit more time to stay home and write. Whatever the case, with the largest number of entries in years, it made the decisions tough.”

This year’s contest judge is Frances Greenslade, acclaimed Canadian author and English professor at Okanagan College.

“There were so many well-crafted stories to choose from,” says Greenslade. “Reading the shortlist submissions reminded me what a strong writing community we have in the Okanagan.”

For a look at the shortlisted authors, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/okanagan-short-story-contest-shortlist-announced

The top three stories receive cash prizes of $1,000, $400 and $200; the first prize winner also wins a one-week retreat at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in Kelowna. The top story by a high school student receives a cash prize of $200.

Co-sponsors of the contest are FCCS, TD and the Central Okanagan Foundation.

The event is part of the FCCS Spring Festival of the Arts, and is free and open to the public. It will take place on Friday, April 16 at 7 p.m. with a chance to hear readings from the winners. To register, go to fccs.ok.ubc.ca/short-story

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

BFA student Stephanie Tennert works in her home studio on a drawing in preparation for the year end exhibition.

BFA student Stephanie Tennert works in her home studio on a drawing in preparation for the year-end exhibition.

Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates present final work with a virtual show

What: UBCO Visual Arts Graduation Show: Up Close from a Distance Who: Graduating artists in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program When: April 12 to 26, 2021 Where: Virtual Exhibition Each spring, graduating visual arts students at UBC’s Okanagan campus prepare a final exhibition as they complete their program. This year’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) show, titled Up Close from a Distance, will be shared as a virtual exhibition. The BFA exhibition will highlight a wide variety of work created by 18 emerging artists during the course of the year. The collection will include sculpture, performance, installation, painting, drawing and animation.  “Up Close from a Distance represents the intimacy that connected this cohort as they shared their varied and unusual studio situations, that crossed geographical borders and time zones, through Zoom,” explains Visual Arts Instructor Katherine Pickering. The artworks showcased in the exhibition will examine themes based on identity, personal histories, cultural traditions and some that are spirituality-specific to individual world views. “Some students saw this year as an opportunity to learn a new skill, and all of them took difficult creative risks as they created a space for themselves to work in this new reality,” says Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) Professor Renay Egami. BFA graduating student Stephanie Tennert says the experience of creating art from home taught her more than just art. “I believe this unusual learning experience has set us up for a lot of future success,” says Tennert. “Learning to do printmaking and large-scale drawings from my own bedroom is a wonderful asset. And seeing the range of works my classmates have been able to make from their homes is inspiring.” “Travel and many of the usual opportunities to connect were severely limited, yet this class brought us into the world through their work,” adds Egami. “This year was more difficult than anticipated. But for this cohort making art has been cathartic and liberating as they acknowledge their own resilience and ability to overcome obstacles.” The exhibition opens on April 12 and will run until April 26. The show is part of the FCCS Spring Festival of the Arts and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit: ubcovacu.org

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca
The art of BFA students Pip Dryden and Avery Ullyot-Comrie shares studio space with Professor Briar Craig in UBCO’s Fina Gallery during the Spring Festival of the Arts.

The art of BFA students Pip Dryden and Avery Ullyot-Comrie shares studio space with Professor Briar Craig in UBCO’s Fina Gallery during the Spring Festival of the Arts.

UBCO’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies hosts annual spring festival

UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies’ (FCCS) Spring Festival of the Arts brings a myriad of exhibits and events to the Kelowna area. The festival covers a spectrum of artistic endeavours by students, faculty and staff including exhibitions of creative writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, short films and public art. This year, in lieu of in-person events, student work from visual arts, creative writing, and media studies will be showcased in various venues around town where the community will be able to enjoy on their own time. “Our goal is to avoid an overload of online engagement, so in addition to the virtual events, the festival will be exhibiting student work at the FINA Gallery on our campus, the Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA), the Alternator Gallery, and the Lake Country Art Gallery Town Wall and outdoor mural space,” says Denise Kenney, Creative Studies department head. The creative writing program will host three virtual events as part of the festival. The first is the launch of this year’s Papershell anthology, which will showcase student work from the program. The launch will take place on Friday, March 26 at 7 p.m. Creative Writing Professor Kevin Chong, will give the second annual Sharon Thesen Lecture on Friday, April 16 at 7 p.m. And the winners of the Okanagan Short Story Contest will be announced on Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. Fourth-year Bachelor of Fine Arts students will host an online exhibition, Up Close from a Distance, that will run from April 12 to 26. The graduation show will highlight a wide variety of artists’ works created over the course of the academic year. The collection will include sculpture, photography, drawing, painting, digital media and printmaking. “We’ll also have street banners with student work hanging between the Kelowna Art Gallery and the RCA, postcards at local establishments created by our photography and creative writing students, and projections at the RCA that we will show student, faculty and alumni artwork,” adds Kenney. Skin Hunger, an art history student exhibition, will be held at the FINA Gallery from March 4 to 26. The exhibit will discuss the effects of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and will include virtual talks as well as digital tours and publications. “Come out and see what’s been germinating over the winter,” says Kenney. “Whether online or offline, it’s time to soak up some art.” The public is welcome to attend all events and exhibits. The FCCS Spring Festival is sponsored by TD, the Rotary Centre for the Arts, the Lake Country Art Gallery, the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan and the City of Kelowna. For more information, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/spring

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca
<em>Celestial Bodies: Four Stories</em> of the Night Sky, projections will be shown at the Rotary Centre for the Arts until February 28.

Celestial Bodies: Four Stories of the Night Sky, projections will be shown at the Rotary Centre for the Arts until February 28.

Public art adds beauty to the community and lets us reflect on what is in front of us

Public art can take many forms, from mural paintings to installations and exhibitions, to large scale sculptures. It can work to revitalize the urban landscape while supporting and improving the cultural, social and economic vitality of our local community.

UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) is deeply committed to community engagement, says Denise Kenney. Artists do not just make art for themselves, she says, but rather enter into conversation with their communities—public art and community engagement is the most honest and direct example of that.

Kenney is an educator, filmmaker, eco-artist and performer. She teaches interdisciplinary performance and film at UBCO and is currently the department head for Creative Studies.

Why is public art important?

I believe it is vital. I always ask my students, "If art and artists are really 'fluff,' then why do so many oppressive regimes target artists?" The way we converse with our communities is through our art. Art matters.

Every day we engage with art and aesthetics in some way. Everything from the way our cell phones are designed, to our toasters, furniture, films, books and what we have on the walls in our houses. It is all around us. But art is much more than just design—it builds resiliency in our communities and helps us to understand other points of view and perspectives.

How do FCCS students and faculty contribute to the vibrancy of our arts community?

We host a number of events where people share poetry, writing, performance work, installations and exhibitions. These events are essentially social practice projects where we engage in conversations with and for our community. Our art is sometimes a catalyst or a container for dialogue or community conversation, sometimes an offering of beauty and sometimes a provocateur or interrupter.

The university is able to leverage our resources, which are fresh young people who can teach us what this next wave is, what people are thinking, how these younger people see the world, and what their issues are. Having our students work in the community keeps us all on the pulse of emerging ideas and concerns. It keeps us vibrant.

What previous projects have UBCO students, faculty and alumni added to the public art in the community?

We see some of our faculty and alumni work on banners along Main Street in Lake Country as part of a public art commission done by that municipality. And the tree grates and light stands in downtown Kelowna, and the bronze sculpture of Chief Charlie swkn̓cut outside of the tourism centre are all done by Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts alumna Crystal Przybille.

Just last summer, through a painting course with BFA alumnus and current painting instructor David Doody, our BFA students created a large-scale mural on the back of a downtown Kelowna building. Students from the BFA program also worked on a mural design to transform University Way into an experimental public art piece.

The Living Things Festival presented The Collective Body which was a series of projections outside of the Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA) that included work from our students and faculty. Currently, projections in this space showcase fascinating stories of the night sky in a new exhibit called Celestial Bodies.

During the pandemic, how is FCCS working to exhibit students’ work?

We are all struggling under the weight of the pandemic. And rather than students feeling like they are the victims of the pandemic, it is a great opportunity for us to say this is the time when artists have something to offer back. We have found a safe way for our students to experience their relevance and importance in the community and at the same time offer something that gives the community a moment of distraction, contemplation and aesthetic arrest in the context of the pandemic.

Along with our upcoming Spring Festival, our students and faculty are working on several online events including our BFA graduation show, the announcement of our Okanagan Short Story contest winners and the launch of this year's Papershell anthology, showcasing student work from our creative writing program.

We specifically want to get away from so much online engagement, so in addition to those events we will be exhibiting student work in our FINA Gallery, through the Rotary Centre for the Arts, the Lake Country Art Gallery Town Wall and outdoor Mural space and in the Alternator Gallery. We will also be showcasing student work on postcards, street banners and digital projections.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

Visual artists, writers and performers can spend a month at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre

UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) is launching a new opportunity for artists, writers and performers to spend some creative time in a wooded retreat.

The FCCS Woodhaven Artist-in-Residence program provides a paid residency opportunity that is open for Canadian and international artists to stay between four-to-eight weeks at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in the summer.

Woodhaven includes a large heritage home with three self-contained apartments and a studio cabin on a large parcel of heavily-wooded parkland neighbouring Bellevue Creek. For years, FCCS has invited artists, writers and scholars to come to UBC Okanagan and work with the students, faculty and community members during the academic year.

This new program creates another dedicated opportunity for acclaimed artists and writers to work with the FCCS community during the summer months, explains Dean Bryce Traister.

“This residency program will give our visitors uninterrupted time and space to live and create in a beautiful nature conservancy. This is an experience that can foster and accelerate artistic process and creation, and we are excited about the people we will get to work with in the coming years,” he says.

The 2021 season will be reserved for writers of all genres. The FCCS faculty will invite writers to apply for a paid Woodhaven Eco Culture Residency and one writer will be chosen for the residency.

The selected writer will be expected to spend time on their own writing and spend part of their time on public outreach. This residency includes accommodation in the large two-bedroom home located at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre as well as full use of a writing studio on the property.

“Having time to work with and learn from other artists and writers from outside of our community allows us all to develop professionally and broaden our experience with arts and culture,” says Nancy Holmes, FCCS creative writing professor.

“We are also excited about the potential creative and critical encounters between the visiting writer and the Summer Indigenous Intensive program, a month-long residency that gathers artists, curators, writers and scholars to engage in contemporary ideas and discourse, and is a place for new ideas rooted in Indigenous art-making.”

Applications for the residency are now open and will be accepted until March 5. For more information on the application and the residency, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/artist-in-residence

About the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre

The Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre is located at 969 Raymer Road, in Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park. 3.5 hectares of the Regional District of Central Okanagan has been designated for conservation of wild animals and their habitat. It is part of a vital wildlife corridor along Bellevue Creek which flows down from Myra Bellevue Provincial Park.

Through an agreement with the Regional District, FCCS manages a large heritage home with three self-contained apartments, providing opportunities for FCCS graduate students to live during the academic year and a place for visiting artists and scholars to stay during the summer months. There is a small studio cabin on the property—an ideal place to hold seminars, small retreats, art projects, events and meetings.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

Okanagan Short Story Contest graphic

UBCO holds annual fiction writing competition

Up and coming writers are encouraged to submit entries for the annual Okanagan Short Story Contest.

Now in its 23rd year, the short story contest has a long history of bringing new and emerging writers to the Okanagan community. Past winners have been published with Penguin Random House, Arsenal Pulp Press and NeWest Press. They have also been featured in numerous magazines and journals across the globe, explains Nancy Holmes, creative writing professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS).

“Competitions like the Okanagan Short Story Contest are where a lot of writers get their start,” says Holmes. “We are always impressed with the calibre of entries we receive and we are excited to see what this year’s submissions will bring.”

This year’s judge is Frances Greenslade, acclaimed Canadian author and English professor at Okanagan College. Greenslade’s 2012 novel, Shelter, was named one of UK’s Waterstones 11 most promising debut novels that year and was nominated for both an Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award and the BC Book Prize Ethel Wilson Award.

The short story contest is open to fiction writers in the Southern Interior of British Columbia: east of Hope, west of the Alberta border, north of the US border and south of Williams Lake. The deadline for submissions is March 1, at midnight.

All entries must be between 1,000 and 4,000 words, and writers are welcome to submit as many entries as they wish. There is a $15 entry fee for each submission, but no charge for high school students. All proceeds go towards UBCO creative writing scholarships.

FCCS is offering cash prizes to the top three stories—$1,000, $400 and $200; the first prize winner also wins a one-week retreat at the Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre in Kelowna. For the fourth year in a row, the top short story by a high school student in the region receives a $200 cash prize.

Winners will be announced at a virtual event in the spring.

Co-sponsors of the contest are FCCS, TD Canada Trust and the Central Okanagan Foundation. For a full list of contest details, rules and past winners, visit: fccs.ok.ubc.ca/short-story

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca

It will be an unusual Christmas for many as virtual gatherings have become the norm this season.

2020 will go down as one holiday season that’s hard to forget

While it’s true that Christmas 2020 may not go down in history as the most joyous, a team of UBC Okanagan experts suggest it doesn’t have to be a holiday season to regret. The experts’ advice includes everything from online shopping tips and getting some exercise to curling up with a good book.

Careful while shopping online, suggests Faculty of Management researcher Ying Zhu.

“Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, people should be more mindful of their shopping budget. It’s easy to lose ourselves in the world of online shopping. Balance joyful feelings with a budget.”

Ying Zhu suggests putting down the tablet or smartphone when holiday shopping online, especially when you plan to buy indulgent products in an effort to stem pandemic stress. Her research has shown that study participants were more likely to indulge in guilty pleasures when shopping online with a touchscreen device (i.e., a smartphone) versus a desktop computer. The reason is that using a touchscreen evokes consumers’ experiential thinking, which resonates with the playful nature of hedonic products.

Find creative ways to get some exercise, says School of Health and Exercise Sciences’ Matthew Stork.

“Due to the winter weather and current COVID-19 restrictions, finding ways to stay physically active is more challenging than ever. Try new outdoor activities like skiing or snowshoeing, go for socially distant walks or find creative ways to be active at home.”

If you’re busy, or overwhelmed this holiday season, add some “exercise snacks” into your day. Go up and down the stairs three times in a row, or take a five-minute walk to the end of the street and back. Even short bouts of exercise can add up and can help keep you fit at home.

And if you want to get a bit more out of your workouts—add tunes.

“Music is a simple, yet powerful strategy that can enhance your exercise and make it more enjoyable.”

Okanagan School of Education Associate Professor Stephen Berg focuses on active, healthy children and youth.

Berg has several suggestions for making sure children, and the entire family, have a good holiday season. The idea is to stay active.

“It may seem simple, but getting outside and going for a walk is beneficial. With limited daylight hours, getting outside, even if it is for a short time, will help boost the immune system and provide some much-needed energy.”

Other tips include limiting the treats, trying something new—like a YouTube workout the family can do together, volunteering, and setting basic and small goals, like getting outside for 30 minutes a day.

“My final tip would be to do your best to stay balanced,” he adds. “Quite simply, this has been a unique year. Let children have some fun, relax and breathe. Connect with them. Play board games, find out what they are doing online.”

Alex Hill, who teaches astrophysics at UBCO, suggests people look to the stars as a new activity this holiday season.

When there are clear skies during the holidays, grab a pair of binoculars and get outside after dark, says Hill. The next few days will be spectacular because Jupiter and Saturn will pass quite close to each other—a 400-year benchmark.

“To find them, look southwest as it gets dark, which is nice and early this time of year, about 45 minutes after sunset. If you hold your fist at arm’s length, they’ll be a bit more than two fist lengths above the horizon. They’ll be the brightest ‘stars’ by far and easy to see.”

With binoculars, you should also be able to see the rings of Saturn and the four largest moons of Jupiter. While Jupiter and Saturn are both spectacular with binoculars, they are visible without.

“They won’t look quite like they do in Hubble Space Telescope images you might see in books, but it’s still amazing to be able to see the rings and the moons with your own eyes.”

Fall in love with reading all over again suggests Marie Loughlin, who teaches in UBCO’s English program.

Her advice to anyone is to get settled comfortably with a good story. Loughlin and colleagues suggest books to help relieve stress, help with loneliness or fill in time spent alone.

George Grinnell suggested Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys (Penguin/Random House 2020). “This is easily one of the most compelling and artistically complete novels I have read in a long time.”

Margaret Reeves suggests Thomas King’s newest novel Indians on Vacation (HarperCollins, 2020), saying it is well worth reading for its wry sense of humour.

Joanna Cockerline recommends Idaho (Chatto & Windus, 2017) by Emily Ruskovich; it is set in the rugged mountains of Idaho and is tied around a devastating secret that impacts the life of a man facing early dementia.

Sean Lawrence suggests Andrew Kaufman’s All My Friends Are Superheroes (Coach House, 2003); the ordinary guy Tom has a close group of friends and a wife, all of whom are actually superheroes.

Finally, suggests Loughlin, Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, of which the author’s iconic reading will be featured on CBC over the holidays.

Try something completely new or outside your comfort zone, suggests psychology Professor Lesley Lutes.

“My students suggested we do an online cooking class together,” says Lutes. “I must admit, my first thought was ‘oh lord, this is going to be a disaster.’ But I said yes because they suggested it and I could see they were struggling. I had never done anything like this before and had no idea how it would go.”

Lutes picked a favourite recipe and purchased all the ingredients, including a candy cane and gluten free dessert. It was a great success and she would do it again in a heartbeat.

Lutes shares other suggestions on how to make the most of this atypical Christmas:

  • Try and accept this holiday season for what it is, instead of what it should have/could have been.
  • If you can connect virtually with friends—do it!
  • Deliver, either virtually or to front doors of your friends and loved ones, gestures of your love/affection/appreciation.
  • Try and find humour and levity in the moment—and put it to good use.

“This was truly one of the most challenging years in modern history,” Lutes adds. “I hope everyone can take some time to slow down, reflect and find safety, love, and feelings of hope during these final days of the year. May 2021 bring us all some much-needed relief but also the resolve to make everything that happened this year matter.”

 

UBCO hosts annual gala evening of art and entertainment

What: Art on the Line gala and fundraiser
Who: Various artists with special host UBCO Professor Michael V. Smith
When: Saturday, February 27, 2021. Pre-gala cocktails at 5:30 p.m., online auction at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Virtual event
Cost: $190 (one ticket guarantees one piece of artwork) or $25 to be part of the on-line festivities

UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, in association with the Visual Arts Course Union, is not letting COVID-19 stop a popular annual tradition.

Art on the Line has gone virtual this year and will be held as a stay-at-home gala affair. The evening will be an entertaining celebration where some 150 juried works of art are curated for an online exhibition, explains Tiffany Douglas, Art on the Line co-coordinator.

“For the first time you can enjoy the night with your art-loving friends around the world. We are excited about organizing the 2021 event with the challenge of having to re-think and re-invent how it will be presented,” says Douglas. “This will be the 19th annual Art on the Line fundraiser and gala that celebrates the work of local artists where guests can buy some amazing and original artwork by local celebrities and soon-to-be discovered student artists”

A silent auction will run throughout the night and the winning bidder will be asked one question. If answered correctly, an additional piece of art could soon brighten their home.

“The online format will certainly be different but it’s given us the opportunity as artists to be more creative and we've been having fun pushing the envelope on what an interactive experience can be like,” says Miah Olmsted, also an Art on the Line co-coordinator.

To make the event as special as possible, Olmsted says guests are encouraged to dress up in 1920’s-style clothing and hairstyles along with sequins and pearls. Guests are also invited to join a pre-gala party that starts at 5:30 p.m., where a local award-winning bartender will do a step-by-step walk through of how to make original prohibition-style cocktails (guests supply the ingredients.) Guests can also pre-order a meal delivery basket containing a curated wine or beer tasting with local food pairings. Tickets are sold separately for this special pre-event and are available online when purchasing tickets to the main event.

“With the locally designed and managed Trellis platform, we believe the evening will run smoothly and we can link to each artist’s social media channels or websites. This will help our contributing artists experience new ways to connect with their patrons,” says Olmsted. “Our amazing host, Michael V. Smith, will certainly glitter as he leads us through a night of glamour. We encourage everyone to get into the frivolity.”

Organizers are still collecting two-and three-dimensional artworks to be donated for the event. If you’re interested in submitting a piece of artwork for consideration, high- resolution images of the work can be sent to aotl@ubcovacu.org to be juried and approved. 

“The tickets make excellent holiday gifts, too,” says Douglas, adding the funds raised at this event support visual arts students in many ways including the fourth-year exhibition and UBCO’s visiting artist program.

This year’s event is sponsored by alumni UBC

Tickets are available at artontheline2021.eventbrite.ca