Sydney Black named new Nelson arts council head

Sydney Black is the producer of a string of successful musicals over the past few years in Nelson.

Fans of Sydney Black’s musical theatre productions can rest assured that she’s going to keep doing them

A local theatre and music entrepreneur has just been hired as the new executive director of the Nelson and District Arts Council.

Sydney Black, 31, is well known as the producer of a string of successful musicals in Nelson: Cabaret in 2013, Chicago in 2014, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2015. Her blockbuster for this year is Rock of Ages, coming up in May. She also sings and performs around town, with acts like the Kootenay Divas and bands led by Clinton Swanson.

Black says she is going to continue doing all those things, because the arts council job is half time. And she thinks running an arts organization won’t be that much of a change for her.

“It will be very similar to what I already do, co-ordinating large numbers of artists to put on events. It is a different art form, it’s focussed on Artwalk right now, so it is visual artists, but it’s a whole new cross section of people I don’t know very well, but am really excited to get to know.”

The arts council’s main activity in the past few years has been Artwalk, now in its 28th year. But Black says the organization started diversifying under previous executive director Neil Harrower and she plans to continue on that path.

New directions at the arts council

An example was Appetite for Art, an artistic and culinary event held at the Prestige on March 19.

Another is Hidden Creek, a newly built artist retreat developed by Mike Bowick and Erica Konrad at Grohman Creek, to give an artist a week of working solitude in the forest.

“The previous board organized these things,” she says, “and I get to come in at a nice time to take it over. I get to implement other people’s great ideas, and then come up with more.

“Our mandate is to promote and support the arts in our region, trying to find capacity and vision, and through funding, exposure, any way we can, and assisting in grant applications.”

Another possible future project is the re-establishment of an amphitheatre at Lakeside Park like one that existed for a few years in the 1960s.

“We applied for a grant to do a feasibility study, and will have news of this in the next couple of months. Then we can get a working group together to take a harder look at it.”

No need for the big city

This new job is not Black’s first entry into arts governance: she’s been on the board of the Amy Ferguson Institute for three years and she recently became a member of the city’s Cultural Development Committee as a result of her new job at the arts council.

Black has two generations of roots in the area. In high school she sang with Tim Bullen’s student jazz band at L.V. Rogers, then left for the big city to go to theatre school, returning shortly after, having discarded any dreams of the big time.

“I’m settled in. I’m not going anywhere. I have been so supported by this community. I can put on these musicals and have 2,000 people come and see them. I have lots of love for Nelson.

“It all started in elementary school or maybe it was middle school, and Playmor Junction [a local big band] came to the school and Laurie Jarvis was singing It’s Almost Like Being in Love, and her voice and clarity and confidence fronting this huge band I bought it right there. She really inspired me to sing and perform because she made it look so fun and natural. It hooked me. I can still close my eyes and remember Laurie singing that song.”

Just Posted

RDCK to purchase portion of lands around Cottonwood Lake

21.6 hectares will be purchased for $450,000

COLUMN: Helping my father keep his dignity as he was dying

Nelson teacher Robyn Sheppard reflects on the life and death of her father

Nelson presents proposed 2019 budget with undecided tax increase

Further details will be available after a council meeting in April.

Nelson to get legal opinion on right-to-life street banner

Does the Nelson Right to Life banner violate the Charter of Rights?

Celebrate World Water Day in Crescent Valley

The event is organized by the Perry Ridge Watershed Association

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

College of the Rockies to add 96 beds for student housing in Cranbrook

$17.7 million project featuring six cottege-style buildings to be completed by 2020

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

Most Read