The “Dinosaurs Unearthed” exhibit at the Museum of Surrey. (Photo: surrey.ca)

MINTY: Here’s how to roar into 2019 with arts and culture options in Surrey

A five-step plan from the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

Here we are, another new year has rolled around. We celebrate it just like any other annual significant date, like birthdays or anniversaries. Somehow, the birth of a new year has become more than just a mark in the continuum of time. Can’t just buy a gift and go to a party. Oh no, we feel obligated to make “resolutions.” Some say that making vague resolutions (like, “this year I will lose weight”) are doomed to failure and frustration. So, this year, let’s select a reasonable goal, and something that is doable.

The BC Alliance for Arts + Culture is one of our best advocates for the arts in this province. They have a ready-made New Year’s Resolution package that is all arts and culture related.

First, tap into your creative side. The trick here is to get moving. Apparently, according to a 2014 Stanford University study, people are up to 60 per cent more creative when they are walking around, rather than sitting still. Wow. That could check off two items on your resolution list if you had “get more exercise” already on the list.

Second, go to at least one art opening, museum exhibition, theatre or dance performance. This one is so easy – take the family to Dinosaurs Unearthed at the Museum of Surrey. It’s interactive, and admission is free – but wait, the museum is closed until Jan. 29, for maintenance and renovations. Want a theatre event? Surrey Little Theatre’s next production is Night Watch, by Lucille Fletcher. It runs from Jan. 24 to Feb. 23. Go to surreylittletheatre.com to buy tickets – only $17.

Third, try a new art experience. Bombarding your brain with things it has never encountered before is apparently can be a stimulus to creativity. Yeah, OK. I will try to learn how to use my new label-making machine. Those user manuals are sure a bombardment to the brain. At least I can read the manual. We do pride ourselves on being a literate society. The art of reading is something to celebrate, and Surrey Libraries will celebrate Family Literacy Day with Surrey Kids Read on Jan. 26 at Guildford Town Centre.

• RELATED: Kids rock at ‘Surrey Reads’ event at Guildford Town Centre, from January 2018.

Fourth, introduce the children in your life to culture. Hmmm. Well, we’ve already got the museum and the library covered in two and three above. The Royal Canadian Theatre Company is totally involved with getting kids involved in theatre and building a better community. The PlayWorkers Youth Theatre workshops involve all aspects of producing a live theatre event. It is more than acting, you know. There are so many technical aspects to live theatre that this type of cultural exploration may appeal to the scientific side, as well as creative. Workshops are $150, run Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m. at the RCTC studio, 10660 City Parkway. Each session runs four months. More info at rctheatreco.com.

Fifth, make the case for arts and culture. This part of the plan could be the easiest part of this five-part plan – and it could be the most challenging. Even the B.C. government acknowledges that funding for the arts has significant economic and social benefits. I have given you some viable, inexpensive options for expanding your cultural horizons. But, we can’t rely on governments alone. The Alliance would like us to advocate for more funding (call your local politicians and send letters of support for the arts). Yes, that is an important thing to do. Here is another plan: get involved. Join the Arts Council of Surrey, find an arts club that will allow you to get in touch with your creative self, or just do something you have never done before. Take that walk – to the creative side.

• RELATED: Seniors sing, dance and raise money in Surrey to benefit much younger performers.

If you are now a senior citizen, it does not mean you cannot try anything new. This last bit isn’t part of your 2019 (Year of the Pig) resolutions list. However, The Vaudevillians need you. The Surrey-based senior’s entertainment troupe has a mandate to raise funds in support of youth in the performing arts. OMG. If you volunteer to help this group, you will automatically fulfill the objects of four and five above. Amazing.

Anyway, the Vaudevillians are in need of a choreographer, a music director, artistic director, sound technician, and a producer. You do not need to be a senior to apply for these positions. Honorariums are available for these positions, so it’s not exactly volunteering. This is a mighty big list, and as new Ambassadors for the Arts (see #5 above), I am relying on you to get the word out. Long live the Vaudevillians. Contact Barbara Hall, president, at 778-918-0178 or barbaravaudevillians@shaw.ca. Pat Trimble will help you out, too: trimbles@shaw.ca.

Live long and prosper.

Melanie Minty writes twice monthly for the Now-Leader. She can be reached at melminty@telus.net.

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