Nelson’s Stephanie Fischer is among 19 British Columbians who will receive the province’s Medal of Good Citizenship for their outstanding community service.
Fischer has been integral in establishing Nelson and area as a cultural hub.
Fischer was an early champion and founding director of the City of Nelson’s cultural development committee, which helped develop long-term cultural plans and policies for the city. She has been a steadfast volunteer on numerous boards and steering committees including: the Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership, Selkirk College, Oxygen Art Centre, Nelson Artwalk and the Social Planning Action Network.
According to an announcement that accompanied Tuesday’s announcement, “For Fischer, the value of culture and its contribution to the vibrancy and strength of a community is fundamental. Her enthusiasm has inspired countless individuals to become active in the arts alongside her.
“Her contributions have created a culture of accessibility within the arts in the region while encouraging and celebrating excellence.”
A student of architecture in Germany, Fischer completed an internship in the former East German city of Dessau. She is credited as instrumental in the planning of a new culture centre for Dessau, a project that went on to win the Alfred-Toepfer Foundation Award for innovation and initiative in cultural development.
Of note is Fischer’s involvement in projects around reconciliation with indigenous peoples through partnerships and cultural programming. Her goal is to provide opportunities for our community to learn and appreciate indigenous culture through artistic expression. For example, an indigenous dance event offered a learning opportunity for the greater community to build relationships with indigenous peoples in the region.
As executive director of the Capitol Theatre, Fischer helped raise over $250,000 to renew the systems and equipment. The 30-year-old institution is now thriving, with increased patron and season package memberships, a steady increase in audience attendance at a broad spectrum of live theatre events, and the provision of space to serve as a performing arts resource and referral facility for the community.
She was also the project manager and visionary behind Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History.
In recognition of her contributions, Fischer received a special citation from the City of Nelson, and the Community Futures and CIEL Community Innovation Entrepreneur Award.
She is the only Kootenaian among this year’s honourees.