SURREY – Stilt walkers, poets, artists, musicians and more buzzed about the council chambers at Surrey’s new City Hall midday last Thursday as the community kicked off the province-wide Culture Days festival.
Among the talent was Kelowna-based poet Rawle Iam James, who instructed a “word play” workshop with elementary school-aged kids and did a live reading of his poem “Rainbow Culture” at the event.
James, a business-man-turned-poet and spiritual coach, came to Surrey to represent Kelowna as an ambassador for BC Culture Days.
“I spent 20-something years in the business world … experiencing different levels of successes and failures,” James told the Now, explaining that he originally came from Toronto where he was a recruiter.
“I had an epiphany in late 2001, and saw myself in this new light and moved out here to B.C. It’s just been a progression of where I followed a different path, and now I follow
the path of … using arts and culture as a way of helping people to awaken to (the) life and beauty within each other. For me, poetry is one of the ways that I do that, and then connecting with other artists and creating space for other artists, so they can shine.”
James is the founder of the Inspired Word CafÃ©, a series that encourages poets, musicians and other wordsmiths to share their work in a monthly event. The series has been going strong for the past five years, James said. “That’s what really opened the door for me to do Culture Days and all the other things that I do,” he said.
Now helping others to “open the door” to their own creativity, James touts the importance of keeping cultural festivals like Culture Days alive.
The Culture Days festival showcased community arts from Sept. 26 to 28.