Although our organization is not focused primarily on arts and culture, these elements are integral parts of our operations, explicitly identified as two central goals in our Society Constitution:
- To provide displays and programming to encourage appreciation of, and participation in, artistic expression related to the natural environment and local and regional landscape
- To provide interpretive facilities to promote respect for First Nations history, cultural traditions and heritage.
We work closely with local artists and with the support and collaboration of local arts groups to offer diverse arts initiatives at the Iris Griffith Centre. Activities have included story-telling festivals, poetry readings, concerts, arts workshops for children and adults, and community art projects. Sechelt and Squamish Nation members provide special programs about First Nations arts, culture, history and traditions.
In 2007, we hosted a six-month festival of art and nature. The Celebration featured 11 local artists-in-residence who worked, exhibited, and carried out diverse public outreach activities. Participating artists ranged in age from 20 to 70 and worked in mediums from painting, photography and music, to wildlife illustration, writing and carving. The artists interacted, communicated and connected with a variety of audiences, including visiting residents, tourists, students and families. Click here to read more about the artists-in-residence program.
The Iris Griffith Centre is also home to impressive art installations. Among the most stunning of these is a unique Coast Salish welcoming pole commissioned by Sechelt Nation Cultural Coordinator Dionne Paul. This exceptional ten-foot sculpture is in female form and stands beside a ten-foot traditional floor loom warped with copper and copper wire.
Another notable art installation at the Iris Griffith Centre is a colourful floor mural. Painted by local artists Ken Walters and Emily Gray, this mural features the flora and fauna of local wetlands and animates the aquarium gallery and science lab on the lower floor of the facility.
In 2009, we undertook a unique community art project called the Living Mural Project. Created by Emily Gray in collaboration with the local community, the mural consists of a mosaic of textured terracotta tiles designed as a surface to grow vegetation. Tiles feature images of coastal expression related to water and the role it plays in our lives and our community. The Mural showcases the integration of plants into architecture and is a creative place for plants and community expression to flourish.
Come visit us at the Centre and view the incredible legacy of local artists inspired by nature. Perhaps you’ll find yourself creating some Nature Art yourself!