Just give the girl a grant form to fill out with a few stipulations to work around, some community support and the blessings of the Princeton Arts Council and the Town of Princeton and Robin Lowe takes off running. She moved to Princeton two years ago from Burnaby with her husband Oscar looking for some serenity from city life and has since become a force to reckon with. Lowe’s enthusiasm for life, art and the community has evolved into a vision that only an artist can see…that only someone with a creative spirit has the ability to fulfill.
Lowe is one of the many amply competent members of the Princeton Arts Council who have moved from their individual quest as an artist to a quest for art in public places. Their quest has cleared a trail for all Princeton residents to follow. Their vision is like taking a hand to walk with in a beautiful forest and coming out at a place that one has never seen before…one that takes breath away and leaves one without words.
Art comes in many forms. Culture wears many hats. By combining two ever changing entities, the Princeton Arts Council was able to concoct a festival for the Town of Princeton that is as unique as it will be intriguing. Propelled in the wake of the Olympic spirit of 2010, the Princeton Arts Council applied for and received a Spirit Festival Grant. The grant has become a catalyst for other partnerships within the community that have turned an idea into an event for the whole community to look forward to. The festival is a celebration of First Nations history and culture. It includes an unveiling ceremony of a mural specifically designed to fit in the space in the foyer at the new public library. Ed Staples used the many local pictographs as his inspiration and many in the community are excited to see the art work completed. “We are all hoping that this mural is just one of many more to come,” Lowe continued. “I could just continue doing art in public places forever and so many of the rest of the members have this same excitement and love for the community. It is really inspiring to watch these projects come together.”
Lowe said that the Arts Council hopes that this revitalization of the First Nations history and its relevance to Princeton will encourage more people to get interested in this piece of the past. “I hope we can work with the museum once the renovation is completed to do a bit of work there.”
The Spirit Festival does not just include the weekend activities. It also includes some work inside the schools. “We plan to do an educational workshop at each of the three schools,” Lowe stated. “The workshops and the mural unveiling will be followed by a ini one day Pow Wow. “We are calling it a mini Pow Wow because normally they are three days long,” Lowe said “and we only have one day.”
There will be artifacts brought in by Brenda Gould, archaeologist for the Upper Similkameen Indian Band, and the festival organizers are hoping that some of the public will bring in their own artifacts for Gould to check out and help them identify. “People don’t need to worry about bringing their artifacts in,” said Lowe. “Princeton used to be a summer camp for the First Nations and there are tons of artifacts to be found. Brenda just wants to help locals identify them. First Nations has no interest in claiming them.”
The Spirit Festival is very family oriented and the organizers promise to offer up a day the community won’t soon forget. “What we really want is to make this day an annual event,” said Lowe.
From someone who came to Princeton first for her love of fly fishing along with her husband Owen and secondly to live away from the rat race, Lowe has made a niche for herself thanks to the welcoming crew at the Princeton Arts Council. “Owen and I were living and working in Vancouver and coming up to Princeton to fish and I looked at him one day when we were heading back into the city and said, “We need to change this up. We can live in Princeton, work in Vancouver and have the best of both worlds.” Lowe and her husband both work in the movie/television industry and often do stints under contract, with spans of free time in between. Moving to Princeton has enabled them to buy a house, start a family and spread their wings. “Joining the Princeton Arts Council has been one of the best decisions I have ever made,” said Lowe, “that and our move to Princeton. Since moving here, I have had a chance to do things that I just couldn’t at the coast. This Spirit Festival is one of many projects I am proud to be a part of.”
The event will include First Nations cuisine – Indian tacos and Indian fired bread that will be sold out of the concession. The rest of the festival is free. There will also be an art contest for students from Grade 1 to 12 that is to be inspired by First Nations history of the area. Art work is to be completed and submitted by February 25, 2011.
Lowe will be using her work experience as a set decorator to decorate the lobby of Riverside in First Nations inspired props. “We all just want the community to come out and have fun,” Lowe concluded. “It promises to be a great day.”