oook.ca began as the OKnow listserv in October 2009. It was created as a way to address the lack of a contemporary arts and cultural scene in the Okanagan. OKnow did this by providing its subscribers with a FREE weekly listing of all the events happening each week in and around Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and all points in between. It listed things like: openings, concerts, lectures, readings, exhibitions, screenings, workshops, classes, seminars, forum, performances, volunteer opportunities and calls for submission, etc.
The aim of oook.ca, the new incarnation of OKnow, is to bring the isolated pockets of artistic activity together, to create a community that spans the length and breadth of the valley. At its heart, oook.ca is about building community without boundaries, either regional or artistic ones, by creating more public awareness about the many vibrant and active individuals and arts organizations, each pursuing a multitude of interesting projects and initiatives. We have lots of great artists, curators, writers, actors, musicians, film makers, dancers and performers working in our midst who are contributing to art on a local, national and international scale. We also have lots of great organizations and institutions that provide venues and administrative structure and funding that make arts and culture possible in the Okanagan.
Well, ok.ca was taken, as was ook.ca. But we think that oook.ca perfectly describes our enthusiasm for arts and culture in the Okanagan. We don’t just think arts and culture in the Okanagan is Okay, we think it’s OOOkay – that’s 2-3 times as much!
oook.ca will do this by pursuing the following:
There is no one singular, comprehensive source of information on arts and cultural events in the Okanagan. Hence why there isn’t a great public awareness of all of the great events that are going on – people just don’t know where to look and organizations don’t know where to post their event information.
oook.ca will offer a singular, comprehensive database of all things arts and cultural in the Okanagan. It will continue to offer it’s events listings – that will always continue to be accessible to anyone – and it’s FREE weekly listing emailed to oook.ca subscribers. It will also offer regularly updated content generated by local arts and cultural producers.
Discovery – there’s more to discover
We here at oook.ca think that there is a ton of great arts and cultural events happening in the Okanagan and we want to introduce you to the ones you don’t know about. We also want to introduce you to the people makes art and culture in the Okanagan happen.
oook.ca will feature regularly updated content, in the form of profiles, features, reviews, shout outs, etc. that will give you an inside view into arts and culture in the Okanagan. We will go to source of art and culture in the Okanagan, getting the opinions and ideas of the artists, musicians, curators, writers, actors, film makers, organizers, dancers and performers themselves – there is no middle man at oook.ca.
The geography of the Okanagan more often works against it, than for it. Towns, cities and other communities tend to only look within their own borders, overlooking anything outside of their realm.
In an effort to create a higher level of visibility for events throughout the Okanagan valley, rather than those just in one given area, oook.ca will offer its listings organized in a manner that encourages people to attend events outside of their local area or discipline. By being able to access a singular, comprehensive database of all things arts and cultural for the entire Okanagan, a public awareness of just how abundant and robust arts and culture is in the Okanagan will be fostered and the visibility of these individuals and organizations will be increased accordingly.
With the recent devastating cuts to arts and cultural funding in BC, the importance of supporting the arts locally has become even that much more important.
To date, event listings with OKnow have been provided free of charge. oook.ca will continue with this mandate to offer event listings to individuals and arts and cultural organizations FREE of charge as a way to provide small, under funded initiatives with equal footing in the marketplace with larger, better funded ones.
There are lots of great organizations and arts and cultural resources available in the Okanagan that assist with arts and cultural production, but do you know where to look for painting lessons or where you can find a recording studio in your area?
In addition to a singular, comprehensive source of events listings, oook.ca will also offer a database of arts and cultural institutions, organizations, businesses and individuals, that can help you with any kind of artistic endeavor imaginable.
There is so much going on in the Okanagan that it can sometimes be overwhelming.
The oook.ca team is made up of a group of individuals who are passionate about arts and culture and letting you know about all the great events that available in the Okanagan. Many of them are cultural producers in their own right. They all offer the wealth of their experiences and knowledge about their particular pursuits – be it music, film, writing, art, theatre or dance, or anything in between – through regularly updated content on our blog and weekly picks and profiles.
A sense of community is built through public awareness, visibility and shared experiences.
At its heart, oook.ca is about building community without boundaries, either regional or artistic ones. By offering a singular, comprehensive database of all things arts and cultural, oook will facilitate the mingling of many voices and outlooks. There will be no divisions between geographical location, artistic discipline or level of funding. All will be welcome and have an opportunity to make their voice heard.
There are vibrant and active individuals and arts organizations up and down the valley, each pursuing many interesting projects and initiatives. Despite all of this great work, it seems that much of it goes on largely unnoticed, operating in isolated pockets. It’s time for the Okanagan to look to and celebrates its own.