“To Remember is to Work for Peace” is the theme for the annual Fraser Valley Arts and Peace Festival, which runs at various locations in Langley and Abbotsford from Nov. 7-13th. Its mission is to provide opportunities to celebrate, reflect and be a public witness for creativity, love of neighbour and nonviolent peacemaking.
“Around Remembrance Day, Canadian society is invited to reflect on the sacrifice of past soldiers who have served, as well as those serving today with the Canadian Armed Forces,” says Jon Nofziger, Peace Education Coordinator for one of the festival’s sponsors, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC,) “MCC, as part of the larger peace church tradition, asks that the day also cause reflection for all who suffer from war, just not our soldiers.”
Nofziger says the festival theme “To Remember” is also an invitation to harness our creativity to challenge the necessity of war, using the arts as a way to channel our imaginations to consider ways toward peace.
A new component to this year’s Arts and Peace Festival is the involvement of two new sponsors: the Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts (ASIA) and the Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford. Students from ASIA will have an art installation at the Reach, will have art displayed at their school and present a Remembrance Day ceremony at the school as well. In addition to this, they have worked together with staff at the Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford to have a performance of dance, music, drama and readings at a reception.
Kat Wahama, Cultural Programs Manager at the Reach, says that this new partnership further builds on the relationship developed with MCC during the textile exhibition A Common Thread in 2009.
“The Reach is a centre for art, heritage and dialogue. This time our hope is to bring the community together through a thought-provoking student show from the AbbotsfordIntegrated School of the Arts,” she says. “The exhibition examines the themes of Remembrance, Service and Peace through the eyes of young artists. It is an exciting opportunity to work together, showcase young artists and grow understanding.”
John Fultz, the principal at ASIA, explains that the students and staff at the school always strive to use the Arts as a vehicle for exploring both curriculum and social issues. He also indicates that the school works on a broad approach to celebrate Remembrance Day.
“As a public school, we respect the service of Canadian Forces and Peacekeepers, but are also open to discussing that the ultimate goal for humanity is Peace, and that we live in a world where there are many different opinions on how to get there, he says. “’To Remember is to Work for Peace’ is very much in keeping with our focus on Remembrance and Service Learning. We welcome the opportunity to explore these themes through the arts in the greater community.”
The Arts and Peace Festival also includes an art gallery at Columbia Bible College, documentary film night, story telling evenings, concerts, coffeehouses, a Vesper service and more. For a complete schedule of events and information visit bc.mcc.org/arts-and-peace-festival
The Festival is sponsored by the Abbotsford School of Integrated Art, Columbia Bible College, Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Langley Mennonite Fellowship, The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford and the Mennonite Central Committee.