It is closing day, yesterday was a rainy and cold one so instead of the laundry hanging on the fence it is all over the house, looks like we can expect nice weather today. That's great, last year was cold and rainy on closing day. Our county reeve, Al Kenmere, attended the closing ceremony along with the councilor for our area Kathy Blaine. Both said flattering things about the symposium and the resulting artworks. It is great to have this local support. Over 7% of the attendants this year were from our nearest town, Sundre! We hope to see that number increase in the future as well as attracting even more people from outside of our area. The City of Calgary named all the participants Honorary Citizens of Calgary, Calgary Tourism performed a white hat ceremony, Travel Alberta gave gifts, Up Towne Olds sponsored a reception......several communities in our area (Western Canada) are interested in holding a symposium of their own. This is really exciting for us, this kind of interest and recognition satisfies several of our objectives and confirms to us there is potential for the program to expand beyond Bergen. It is actually a few years earlier than we projected for this kind of enthusiasm to develop.........art is a powerful commodity.
Chander Parkash sposke on behalf of the sculptors at the closing, expressing that the stone was good, the working atmosphere a pile of fun.........that this year's symposium was a big success from the point of view of the artists.
Carlos rang the bell (a stone splitting wedge) to officialy close the event. (Big whoo hoo here)
Everyone had fun "exploring" their work and others. My daughter Jessica and Chander his sculpture and gave a celebratory wave. This sculpture is a temple, similar to 1000's across India. People go each morning to pray and pour water over the bells. I don't think they are devoted to a particular religion, regardless of your faith you can pray here. The title " Gates to Heaven, Anybody Can Go" is perfect, in itself a wonderful message.
We asked attendees to pay $2 admission, this was split several ways. The participants each recieved a share of 30% of the total and local organizations recieved an equal amount. This will help the artists with their travel expenses and help the event to provide benefit to our community. There are so many good causes to contribute to it was difficult to choose, we decided that we'd go with these:
Bergen Community Association; the event is in Bergen and this group is involved in contributing to the community in many ways.
Sundre Paddlers; We scheduled a raft trip on the Red Deer River three times, each time the weather wasn't cooperative. The Sundre Paddlers were going to host this trip. It is always a challenge to maintain and replace equipment etc, over the years many many people have learned to enjoy the river safely through this club. Sundre boasts a long list of competative paddlers who have had success' provincially, nationaly and internationally and were introduced to the sport through this club.
Sundre Pioneer Museum; Sundre has a first class museum, it is a focal point for the energies of many local residents. The museum is something that should be accessable to the public, funding to allow for that is constantly an issue.
Sundre Community Van; The Sundre van came out several times with groups of seniors and shutins. We really enjoyed having them come, the sculptors took time to meet and speak with them. This is a great service to have in our community and we look forward to seeing them on site again next year.
Orphanage in India; That the participants came from around the globe for such a short period of time demonstrates that we live in a global community now. In some of the countries where our guests came from challenges in the day to day lives of some people are insurmountable. Although it isn't such a large amount, the money that we sent with Chander to donate to an orphanage in India will likely make more of a difference than the other four shares above combined.
The remaining 40% will help us to hold another symposium in our region in the future.