Art and nature inspire launch of Green Art Festival

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The Green Art Festival will feature visual artists inspired by nature.
Photo by Andrew Danyluk

LISA MONFORTON

SUN PEAKS, B.C. – It’s easy to feel connected to nature when you’re standing amid lush, green hillsides covered in blooming alpine wildflowers in a rainbow of colours. Tweet This!

Some visitors to Sun Peaks Resort might take this natural green, goodness for granted as they hike up Tod Mountain for a hike, cruise on a mountain bike or swing a golf club. What lies beneath and behind the scenes at this all-season resort is a collection of eco-friendly initiatives, not obvious to the naked eye.

Sun Peaks is the first resort in the North America, now just one of three in North America, to gain an ISO 14001 certification back in 2003. This makes it fitting it will hold its premiere Green Art Festival from Aug. 7 to 9, 2015.

The ISO 14001 program maps out a framework that a company can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It’s something the resort works at daily, says Erik Meertens, mountain operations manager.

“Everybody is on board. It’s second nature for most of our employees.” The resort has two full-time staff certified to do internal audits.


Sun Peaks Green Art Festival will offer plein air painting workshops. 
Photo by Andrew Danyluk

Among the multiple green initiatives are water-saving strategies. Water used to irrigating the golf course, for example, is sourced from drainage systems and then stored in holding ponds. Specific types of grasses are used on the ski runs to minimize summer erosion and shorter ski runs help reduce the resort’s footprint. Low-flush toilets are standard.

“We’re very much proud of the certification,” says Meertens. “It matters to people, maybe not 100 per cent of our visitors, but that ratio of folks is growing.”

Dasha Novak, founder and creator of the Green Art Festival, also wanted to capitalize on people’s growing concern for the environment, especially among youth.

“This generation is thinking about what we do and how we consume and how we negotiate our place within natural and urban landscapes,” says Novak, who divides her time between Sun Peaks and Vancouver.

The festival, with the theme Midnight Sun, aims to spread the goodness of green living and thinking through a variety of media: film, paintings, theatre and music. Novak is bringing like-minded young artists and aboriginal artists together who have fresh ideas and commitment to the environment. The people who come to the festival will be surrounded by the outdoors, and perhaps that will also influence people to feel more connected to nature, says Novak.


Sun Peaks is one of only three resorts in North America with an ISO 14001 designation.
Photo by Royce Sihlis

“You need to fall in love with nature first before you feel strongly about protecting it,” says Novak, who for many years was a visual communications teacher at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She is also an artist in her own right, working in film, writing and painting.

“I have always had a connection to nature,” she says. “I wanted something to spotlight this.”

Novak thinks the timing for the festival is right. “I’ve been totally blown away by the positive feedback for the festival.”


Get tickets to this year's movie screenings, wine tastings, workshops, concerts and more. Details here.

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Festival-goers will also be impressed with the calibre of artists. One of the award-winning feature-length films to be shown at outdoor screenings is All the Time in the World by Dawson City’s Suzanne Crocker.

Crocker, who will be at the festival, is a mom who took her family off the grid for nine months and documented their life without modern conveniences.

“She films everything from the perspective of a child,” says Novak. “Anyone who’s dreamed of leaving the city and going off the grid, this will give them a really great perspective.”


Sun Peaks has restaurants with patios, perfect for sampling some local food and wine.
Photo by Kelly Funk

Another film, Reaching Blue, delves into the environmental threats beneath the ocean, captured by 22 cinematographers.

The festival’s visual arts are meant to be an inspiration, says Novak. “It’ll be a place where people can come and exchange different ideas about nature.

“I always felt art is the way to bring people together and to offer a platform for different voices.”

More info

Get more details on the Green Art Festival here.

Check out FestivalSeekers overview of the Green Art Festival.

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