George Ryga Society dissolves

The George Ryga Society has dissolved and grants have been given to nonprofit cultural institutions and programs.

The George Ryga Society, which preserved the home of the Summerland writer, has dissolved and grants have been given to nonprofit cultural institutions and programs.

Ryga, who died in 1987, was the author of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe along with other plays, poems and novels.

He lived in Summerland from 1960 until his death.

In the 1990s, the society was formed to preserve his home on Caldwell Street as a retreat for writers and songwriters.

The activities at the house decreased and in 2012, the society sold the house to pay off its debts.

Remaining funds were used to honour Ryga’s legacy.

Keith Ferlin, president of the George Ryga Centre Society, said the society had been in place to preserve the Ryga house.

Once the house was sold, the society had no choice but to dissolve.

The funding was given to organizations which support Ryga’s goals.

The largest grant was to the Banff Centre for a playwriting bursary at the annual Playwrights Colony.

The Pacific BookWorld News Society received an endowment to take over the administration of the George Ryga Book Award for Social Awareness in Literature.

A one-time grant to IndigenEYEZ B.C. was given to commemorate the impact of Ryga’s works on relations between indigenous people in the province and the larger community.

A grant to the Friends of the Summerland Library Society was given to commemorate Ryga in the new library, which will open late next year.

The Good Will Shakespeare Society has also received a grant from the George Ryga Society.

Ferlin said a birthday celebration for Ryga will be held at the former home in late July.

This is similar to an event held at the site last year.