Culture Days celebration comes to Sackville

Commerce students host events downtown to promote art and culture

Downtown Sackville hosted live music, poetry reading and games last Friday as part of a national celebration of the arts. Pengyi Huang/Argosy

Last Friday afternoon I found myself sitting downtown outside Tidewater Books, listening to Dr. Robert Lapp, an English professor, recite poetry to the street. This was just one of 10 events that the arts and culture marketing class hosted as part of the nationwide Culture Days celebration.

Since its creation in 2010, Culture Days has been an annual celebration of arts and culture, with events taking place all across Canada on the last weekend of September. This year’s theme was creativity, the arts and well-being. One of Dr. Rosemary Polegato’s third-year commerce classes organizes these events in Sackville each year.

“Culture Days is an opportunity for local artists to be spotlighted throughout town and [to] help people realize that there is more art and culture in their community than they might have noticed,” said Ben Peres, a fourth-year commerce student and the media coordinator for Polegato’s class.

Alyson Mackay, a third-year exchange student from Scotland, was in charge of the Golden Memory Wall, an activity designed to promote well-being by sharing happy memories. “It’s really great that this event is run completely by students and that’s it’s a not-for-profit,” said Mackay. “It’s something that the community is completely backing and it’s wonderful to see Mount Allison and Sackville come together to support it.”

Ten local businesses supported the event in Sackville. Local musicians Jack Forrest, Kaleb Robinson and Duncan Hall were showcased at various locations, as well as music students from Salem Elementary who stopped by Johnstone Park to sing.

Kiara Bubar, a third-year psychology major, was invited to present the Red Dress Project at one of the Culture Days stations. “The Red Dress Project uses the hanging of red dresses to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,” she explained. “It’s been really great to show the town of Sackville what efforts are being made in Indigenous communities.”

At the Scotiabank on Bridge Street, MASSIE students ran a game called fukuwarai, where participants had to match facial features to a blank face while blindfolded. Speaking from experience, it’s not the easiest game to play.

Jordan Allain, a third-year commerce student, was running the Big Duck event, an eco-sculpture located in front of the Salvation Army. Passersby were encouraged to add to the sculpture by writing on recycled cans and attaching them to the duck. “[Culture Days] is [a] great experience just to learn how marketing for the arts is much different than marketing for products,” said Allain.

Inside the Canada Post were Bernice McMaster and Heather Patterson, founders of the Sackville chapter of Project Linus. Their members, nicknamed “Blanketeers,” create handmade blankets and quilts to be given to children in need. Polegato invited them to participate in the Culture Days events.

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Amy Walker, a fourth-year French major in Polegato’s class, enjoyed the experience of organizing Culture Days with her fellow students. “[My] experience with my classmates has [created] something for the whole entire town [and] for the students,” she said.

“It’s a great way to bring art together with business,” said Lapp. “We usually think of those separately but … there’s a way in which art can be incorporated into daily life.… I’ve always admired [Culture Days] but I’d never been part of it before.”

“We’ve put a lot of work into it, the whole team,” said Tim Baljet, fourth-year commerce student and a member of the class. “It feels good to finally see that work come to fruition.”

Image caption: Tim Baljet, a fourth-year commerce student, praised the event for its ability to “inspire people to do art and just see what else is out there in the world.”

Julianna Rutledge
Julianna Rutledge is a third year English major at Mount Allison University. She grew up outside of Toronto (which she never quite liked) and moved to Sackville for university (which she would like better if there were less exams). She is an Arts and Culture reporter at the Argosy.