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Salmon Arm Pride Project festival returns loud and proud

New knitting night one of many arts-based activities that foster connection, safe spaces
Salmon Arm Loud and Proud Celebration attendees make good use of the dance floor as disco music fills the intersection of Hudson Avenue and McLeod Street, in front of the Salmon Arm Arts Centre, and band The Hyaenas tune up for their concert on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. The celebration kicked off the 2022 Salmon Arm Pride Project Arts & Awareness Festival week. The exhibition, A Place to Belong, runs at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery until Oct. 29. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

It’s an opportunity for Shuswap residents who identify as 2SLGBTQ+, and allies, to celebrate loud and proud.

The Shuswap District Arts Council is putting on the fourth annual Salmon Arm Pride Project Arts & Awareness Festival beginning Saturday, Oct. 14. The arts-based festival features events planned over nine days, with the aim of building communication between queer groups in the area and other community members, and raising overall understanding and visibility.

The Loud and Proud Celebration, a street concert on Hudson Avenue with food trucks and restaurant participation, is the kickoff. Musical guests Kimmortal, Our Name is Rich and Csetkwe will entertain crowds. The art gallery will stay open until 10 p.m. with a Pride Palace Pop-Up Shop inside and a DJ dance party happening from 8-10 p.m.

“The festival is a welcome opportunity for allies to show their community support for inclusion, acceptance and belonging,” reads a media release from curator Tracy Kutschker.

As the event unfolds, participants can partake in a bookish evening with an author reading, gnome-painting workshop, a film night, drag night out at Harpur Farm and the all-ages, family-friendly drag brunch, which brings drag stars Frieda Whales, Syren Call, Sophonda and Valerie Rose to Salmon Arm. The 2022/23 Youth Drag Workshop Emerging Drag Artists will also perform.

New this year are a zine-making workshop and something Kutschker is excited about, a ‘stitch-n-b*tch’ knit night.

Knitters, newbies and anyone even interested in the textile art are invited to join the crafty evening. As the Arts Centre is working on a collaborative upcoming project about environments fit for reading, knit night participants will help create pride-themed reading pods, comfortable spaces to sit with a book, out of knitting materials.

“Trust is just instantly built in groups like that,” said Kutschker. “It’s a sense of community that grows, as everyone busies their hands, communication happens.”

The knitting event aims to bring people together and foster a place where people feel they belong. Kutschker said knitters can bring their own projects or come empty-handed and ready to learn.

“We all just want somewhere to belong and be loved.”

Read more: PRIDE Palace one feature of Salmon Arm’s PRIDE Project Arts + Awareness Festival

Read more: Loud and Proud Celebration kicks off Salmon Arm Pride Project Arts & Awareness Festival

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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