Thompson Okanagan Tourism Launches Mobile Indigenous Artist Studio

Nov. 13, 2019–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kelowna—The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has partnered with First Nations communities in the Interior to create a mobile space where artists’ works can be displayed and sold.

“We are honoured to be a part of an initiative that showcases to the world the designs and culture of the Indigenous people of the Thompson Okanagan region,” says TOTA President and CEO Glenn Mandziuk. “The goal of IArT is to promote awareness to cultural appropriation, encouraging guests and consumers to purchase only authentic art, through the recruitment of artisans whose work reflects the history and culture of the Thompson Okanagan Three Nations, and we are proud to provide a venue for these art pieces.”

The trailer is sponsored by TOTA and Indigenous Tourism British Columbia (ITBC) and was funded in part by the Western Economic Development Fund, the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and the Rural Dividend Fund, will travel to areas within the Thompson Okanagan starting in March 2020. Currently, there are almost a dozen artists involved in the project, with many more slated to come on line.

“The IArT trailer is a great opportunity for many artists, to express themselves, assist in the preservation of our beautiful art and tools, and share our stories and culture,” says trailer manager Amanda Adams. “This opportunity brings together three Nations—Secwepemc, Nlaka’pamux and Syilx/Okanagan—and shows their support, dedication and commitment to keeping their history, culture and ways of life alive and prosperous.

“Possibilities are endless when you learn, work, and grow together.”

“Our government values the significant contributions of Indigenous artists to B.C.’s identity and creative economy, and I am so excited that through the IArT Trailer’s unique vision, people all across the Thompson Okanagan will be able to experience the power of Indigenous art,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Lisa Beare.

“The trailer is contributing to an authentic cultural experience that can only be found in this part of the province and ensuring more Indigenous cultures are represented in B.C.’s art
community.”

“The trailer is meant to grow the number of cultural and experiential travellers contributing to the year-round economic growth of First Nation communities throughout the Thompson Okanagan,” said Mandziuk.

“It is time to tell their authentic story of resilience and renewal through their art.”

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Media Contacts:
Glenn Mandziuk
President and CEO
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
ceo@totabc.com

Ellen-Walker Matthews
Vice-President Destination Development
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
industry@totabc.com
(236) 361-4433


Backgrounder
About the IArT Trailer:

The Indigenous Artisans Trail (IArT) trailer has been developed with the support of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), the Indigenous Tourism of British Columbia (ITBC) and funding provided by the Western Economic Development Fund, the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and the Rural Dividend Fund.

The trailer is meant to grow the number of cultural and experiential travellers contributing to the year-round economic growth of First Nation communities throughout the Thompson Okanagan. It is time to tell their authentic story of resilience and renewal through their art.

IArT is the combination of a cooperative and sustainable retail approach that enhances the visitor experience while telling the unique story of the Interior-Salish indigenous people. A coordinated and interactive retail network, connecting artists to the public, has not yet been established in the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia.

Until now.

The goal of IArT is to promote awareness to cultural appropriation, encouraging guests and consumers to purchase only authentic art, through the recruitment of artisans whose work reflects the history and culture of the Thompson Okanagan Three Nations: Nlaka’pamux, Syilx, and Secwépemc.

Why mobile?
Mobile models allow merchants the opportunity to bring product to market in a responsive and contemporary format. The model mitigates the burden of seasonal shopping trends (fluctuations) through the flexibility of its structure. The mobile shopping experience accommodates unique inventory that is not easily replicated, is authentic, and/or one-of-a-kind.

The IArT trailer will travel to festivals and events throughout the region starting in March 2020. To book the trailer, please go to www.iart-gallery.com. For more information on the trailer or to apply to participate, please contact Amanda Adams at iart@totabc.com.

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