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Local art festival is now open for all

The festival is centred around the theme of winter, and being held at the Terrace Art Gallery
Anne Isabelle Leonard (left) and Taylor Dilley (right), founders of the Outdoor Artist Collective. (Photo Yan Kaczynski, 2019)

An art festival is underway in Terrace, and there is still plenty of time to experience some local and international artistic talent.

The Terrace Art Gallery has been hosting the Sima Festival, an art exhibition and performance festival focused on celebrating winter and “wintering together.” The Outdoor Artist Collective (OAC) organized around the subject as a way of bringing attention to environmental issues without contributing to what they see as “eco-anxious narratives.” The name Sima comes from a geological term for a layer of the earth’s crust which lies beneath both the ocean and the continents.

OAC itself is a fairly new venture, formed by Anne Isabelle Leonard and Taylor Dilley. Terrace is Dilley’s hometown, and Leonard has been spending three to six months of the year in town since 2019.

“Terrace arrived in a moment that was very important in my life,” said Leonard.

“There was so much beautiful and different insight here, and very grounded insight, as to what it means to be in relationship with the environment, which I think is fully missing in environmental activism.”

Leonard emphasized that ‘grounded’ is a very important word in the work she’s doing, and that making this festival happen took a lot of work from many local volunteers, businesses, and organizations. The themes of community and interconnection run through the creation of the project, and through the art itself.

“How can we push this even further?” asked Leonard. “How can we become, and foster this feeling of being an environmental steward, of being present for the issue of climate change, but in a way that is not based in urgency but is based in building relationships with reciprocity with the environment, and with the community as well? It’s all kind of connected.”

In terms of programming, the exhibition has three events that are coming up or ongoing, all taking place at the Terrace Art Gallery.

The main art exhibition is running between now and Jan. 29 and features all kinds of work from local and international artists focussed around the theme of “wintering together.”

“Through yearly OAC activities, we have observed winter getting shorter and warmer,” says OAC on its website.

“Reconnecting with winter as a time to slow down and reflect, gather and partake, cozy up and create, we believe a winter celebration is a relevant starting point to enter in conversation with the environment.”

From Jan. 6 onward, a kids art exhibition will be free to visit in the upper gallery.

And between Jan. 18 and Jan. 22, the Sima Festival will feature scheduled performances, including dance and musical performances, centred around the theme of winter.