Blooming Creative: Local artists give back to new arts scholarship

An annual spring gathering of local creators and crafters will support a new regional artist fund for the first time.

An annual spring gathering of local creators and crafters will support a new regional artist fund for the first time.

Blooming Creative, set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Riverbelle in Trail, will donate 10 per cent of its proceeds to the Kootenay Arts Scholarship Fund. Goods up for grabs includes everything from green cleaning products, locally created bamboo clothing, healthy herbs and spice blends, cookware, handmade soaps, bags, children’s items and more.

“We enjoy putting the markets together and feel that any opportunity to give back to a local group and support local entrepreneurs is a great reason to gather us all together,” said Rachel Jansen, who along with Erin Fance coordinates the event. “As a group of creative types, we have looked for something creative to give back to and this fund has just been created by Steps Dance Company so it fits.”

The scholarship was created by Steps Dance Company as a means of giving back to the community by helping others pursue their passion for the arts. The 26-person dance troupe kickstarted fundraising last Thursday with a charity show called “We Love to Dance” at the Capital Theatre in Nelson.

Led by Steps Dance Centre owner and artistic director Rhonda Michallik, the company is the longest running youth (nine to 17 years old) dance troupe in the Kootenays and performs all disciplines of dance from tap, jazz, ballet, theatre styles, hip hop, body percussion and modern.

“We’re such a sports town that we just feel like there needs to be more support for the arts,” said Michallik.

Though the cause is quickly gaining attention, Michallik said the company’s initial intention was to simply put any access funds raised throughout the year toward supporting a local cause.

“I think that in the future if it becomes successful and we see how it really affects the arts in our community, they may feel that it’s something they want to pursue a little bit stronger,” she said. “It’s something that I think is going to blow up even bigger than we anticipated so that’s cool.”

The scholarship – which will go to a local artist, musician or dancer, in support of the pursuit of their passion – is planned to be presented to the applicant at the dance studio’s year-end show on June 1 at the Charles Bailey Theatre. The recipient will have an opportunity to display how the funds helped them on their path next April at a benefit show.

“I am a mom to one of the present company dancers and hope to see this scholarship fund succeed and grow to help support the growth and development of local Kootenay artists of all genres,” said Jansen. “Finding your creative spirit and being supported in the process is a wonderful thing.”

This Saturday marks the fifth-annual Blooming Creative event, the spring version of the popular winter Mistletoe Market. Both craft fairs choose one non-profit organization to support, helping out various organizations in the past like the KBRH Health Foundation, Sanctuary, the Stroke Recovery Association of BC’s Trail branch, Special Olympics, La Nina Extreme Weather Shelter, the Gordie Steep Memorial Sick Children’s Fund, Kootenay Animal Assistance Program, Greater Trail Hospice Society and the BC Professional Fire Fighting Burn Fund.

For more information, check out the Blooming Creative event page on Facebook.