The Aerialists play a complex yet comforting mix of traditional/folk/rock music with Nordic and Gaelic influences during their Wednesday on the Wharf appearance in Marine Peace Park in July. (File photo)

Salmon Arm Arts Centre looks to up WOW factor

Additional funding will go towards popular Wednesday on the Wharf concert series

The Salmon Arm Arts Centre will be looking to put a little more wow into its Wednesday on the Wharf concert series this summer.

Salmon Arm council recently approved a renewal of the city’s fee for service agreement with the arts centre for a three-year term, ending Dec. 21, 2021. This agreement includes the provision of the following services: general advice on arts and culture issues as requested by council; exhibitions, opening receptions and artist talks; arts programming for families, children and youth; arts outreach programs for the public; education programs for local schools and groups, arts referral and support services; meeting and working studio space; and the Wednesday on the Wharf (WOW) concert series.

The fee for the 2019-2021 agreement is $41,050 per year, with annual increases based on B.C.’s Consumer Price Index. The annual fee includes a $5,000 per year increase, intended to go towards the WOW concert series.

Related: Concert cancellation prompts push for rainproofing

“We just celebrated the 25th year of Wednesday on the Wharf, it’s a much loved and much anticipated summer program for the entire Shuswap, and we’re pleased that we have inspired many other communities to start their own live music events on their lakeshore,” explained Arts Centre curator/director Tracey Kutschker to council. “For us, this means that we have less pull from those communities, and therefore are seeing a little bit less of an audience these past couple of years.”

Kutschker said the funding would go towards making WOW more of an audience experience, with more movement, more dance.

Related: Salmon Arm music teacher Brian Pratt-Johnson honoured in special concert

In a letter to council, Kutschker notes how the success of the WOW program has relied heavily on donations from audience members.

“Not only is it a challenge to procure volunteer donation collectors throughout the summer, but we need to continually convince reluctant audience members that WOW doesn’t happen for free,” writes Kutschker, noting the additional funding will offer financial stability to the WOW program, allowing the arts centre to deliver “a live music event that brings audiences of all ages together, and a cultural experience for visitors alike.”

Mayor Alan Harrison commended Kutschker and the Salmon Arm Arts Centre staff on the value of the agreement to the city.

“I certainly feel like the moneys we’ve spent are well looked after and the Wednesday on the Wharf is well loved by my family, by others, and so I’m certainly supportive of adding some money to make that even better,” said Harrison.


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