All those artists honored before me over the past decade will agree that a year as Cultural Ambassador is a magnificent opportunity to share Nelson’s rich cultural life with the wider world. In my travels around the Columbia Basin, and to Vancouver, Seattle, Spokane, Los Angeles, etc., I have enjoyed hearing how others view our city: Nelson, where is that? or…Nelson!
I’ve heard of Nelson or … I visited Nelson on a holiday and won’t ever forget it or, (my favourite): the snow in those mountains — it’s the best in the world!
I have read The Heart of a River to nearly a thousand school children along the Columbia, from Fruitvale to Revelstoke.
I have attended the Corazon Youth Choir concert; Ymir’s Tiny Lights Festival; the re-opening of the Rossland Museum; the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival; the celebration of the new gateway to Nelson’s Cottonwood Falls Park with our sister city of Izu-shi, Japan; the local celebration of the 200th Birthday Party of the Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith, to name a few.
I have learned that community emerges not from sameness, but from the harmonious blending of many different belief systems, values, talents, perspectives and opinions, all united on a mountain slope above the Kootenay River. This is the true gift of Nelson to the world. Creative culture is our most precious commodity. I truly hope we will all find ways to continue to support it, and help it thrive.
Eileen Delehanty Pearkes
City of Nelson Cultural Ambassador 2017