The Kamloops Arts Council was first established in 1968 and later became incorporated in 1970. When it first began 46 years ago its sole purpose was to showcase local emerging artists but today it has expanded greatly becoming fully integrated into the Kamloops Community. Today the Kamloops Arts Council has expanded its mandate to include every art form you can imagine such as music, dance, theatre and visual arts.

The Kamloops Arts Council is best known for their Art in Park event hosted in Riverside Park every Canada Day. This event showcases the work of artists and performers of all skill levels and many local artists chose to sell their work at this event. Throughout the year there are art exhibits hosted by the Kamloops Art Council at their base of operations, the Kamloops Old Courthouse. These exhibitions display the paintings, sculptures and other works of art created by its members. There are a number of other annual events including the Children’s Arts Festival, Writer’s Fair, two different Art Walks, Summer Children’s Theatre and more. Each February, the Council puts on a huge juried art show, known as Art Exposed, which takes over the whole courthouse. This event is open all artists, of all skill levels and allows artists an opportunity to grow and receive feedback on their work in a constructive environment and possibly win a cash award in the process.

Each year they try and expand to reach more people and include additional aspects of art and culture. They are devoted to all forms of art in Kamloops and believe that art is for everyone to create and enjoy regardless of age or skill level. Over this past summer the Rivertown Player’s, a group of TRU theatre students that put on free shows in July and August, expanded to new areas throughout Kamloops.

The Kamloops Arts Council stands out in the multiple ways it has integrated itself into our local community. In addition the many free events they put on, the Council strives to hire local artists and reach all people in our society. Their Crossing Bridges community outreach program hires local artists to put on art workshops for individuals at the New Life Mission, The Y women’s Shelter, the Phoenix Shelter, and various Youth Outreach Programs. Their openness and accessibility has drawn around 600 members. Executive director, Kathy Sinclair, is most proud of how the Arts Council has helped transform participants of the Crossing Bridges program and has witnessed individuals gain confidence and open up as art changes their lives for the better.

They have been located Downtown at two different locations, including Riverside Park and now the Kamloops Old Courthouse. Downtown appealed to them due to its density, energy and their desire to be at the centre of our amazing community. Ever committed to reaching as many people as possible anyone can become a member by simply paying a modest annual membership fee, which is $30/year or, for those less than 30 years old, a dollar amount equal to your age/year. This chartable registered non-profit organization has played an important role in our community and will continue to beautify Kamloops utilizing all forms of art.