One of the top weekends of the year for Tri-Cities arts enthusiasts is nigh, as Culture Days kicks off Friday.
Organizers have scheduled a plethora of events sampling fine arts, live music, literature, performance art, artisans' demonstrations and sales, and educational workshops in all three communities.
Culture Days is a Canada-wide festival of celebrating arts of every medium at a community level.
Starting Friday morning, the area's youngest artists are invited for fun with books, songs and puppets at Exploring Music and Colours Babytime at the Terry Fox Library (2470 Mary Hill Rd., Port Coquitlam) from 10: 15 to 10: 40 a.m.
Also from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, the Port Moody Arts Centre, the Evergreen Cultural Centre and Leigh Square Community Arts Village are collaborating to present Crossing Boundaries - A View from the Water's Edge at the Evergreen (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam).
The presentation features a series of exhibitions and programs exploring the theme of water, inspired by the Burrad Inlet and Fraser River.
For Saturday, things get busy beginning at Port Coquitlam's Leigh Square, which plays host to the Art Market from 1 to 4: 30 p.m.
Visitors can get up close and personal with local artists, admire or purchase their work, and try a hand at creating and making art using a variety of different mediums, as well as take in demonstrations of dancing, storytelling and improv theatre (2253 Leigh Square Place, Port Coquitlam).
Artist Emilian Pop will also offer a demonstration on how to draw a traditional Byzantine Icons.
The Art Market also features live world music, indie rock, jazz and classical from Community Trees, Ivan Dimitrov, Angela Hwang and Tambura Rasa.
History-minded residents can head down to the Terry Fox Library (2470 Mary Hill Rd., Port Coquitlam) at 1 p.m. for a two-hour presentation by historian John Mitchell as he shares the stories and pictures of the rough and tumble days of the Cariboo Gold Rush and Barkerville.
From 1 to 4 p.m., drummer and NOW arts reporter John Kurucz will be giving a live drumming demonstration and letting visitors try out his bass drum, snare, hi hat, ride cymbal, a tom, and a crash cymbal, as well as a set of smaller bongo drums ideal for younger kids at Leigh Square (2253 Leigh Square Place, Port Coquitlam).
Sunday is poised to be the busiest day of the weekend, especially at Coquitlam's Evergreen Cultural Centre.
Acclaimed concert pianist Sarah Hagen and soprano Megan Skidmore will give a free performance at the centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) at 3 p.m., followed by the unveiling of Axis Mundi, the latest painting by artist Robert Young. The prolific B.C. artist was last featured at the Everygreen in 2011.
"The painting is finished and very important to me - a summation of all that I have done and, I feel, makes sense of all that went before it," Young said in a press release.
The unveiling will be accompanied by light refreshments and a jazz ensemble.
Also at the Evergreen, visitors will be treated to classical Chinese dance, unique Chinese instruments and high fashion from China's ancient dynasties, in a demonstration by the Shen Yun troupe in Studio B that runs from 2: 30 to 4: 30 p.m.
Not to be outdone, Place de Arts is also hosting a number of all-ages, hands-on workshops that includes hand building clay sculpture, digital photography editing, and making ugly sticks - a traditional Newfoundland instrument made from a mop and rubber boot.
Place des Arts (1120 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam) will also use the event to unveil its 40th anniversary banners at 1: 30 p.m. The banners were designed by artist Joy Kirkwood and community volunteers. Kirkwood will be on hand to discuss the creative process behind them.