As taken from the Harmony Arts Festival website
“Welcome to Harmony Arts, a lively festival along West Vancouver’s waterfront produced by the District of West Vancouver. Every summer for the last 21 years locals and guests from across the Lower Mainland have come to relax, enjoy and take in the arts, the music and the visual diversity that is Harmony Arts.
The Harmony Arts Festival is a community based festival whose aim is to support local artists, celebrate and share the value of arts in our community and build something amazing, together.
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In 1990, the District of West Vancouver, a municipality, with a long history of commitment to art, architecture and design, was looking to bring greater awareness to community-based artists. Within days of a Council directive, staff created and announced a multi-day, community festival that would play host to local musicians and visual artists.
The natural scenery and energy of Ambleside presented the ideal festival setting: local artists had been universally inspired by its panorama of ocean, beach and parkland; and, with the presence of the Ferry Building and Silk Purse Galleries, and the West Vancouver Museum, Ambleside was an established arts and culture corridor.
In the earliest days of the festival, the feeling was part neighbourhood homecoming and part artists’ network. For one of the festival founders, “The festival was grassroots, low budget and relied heavily on the sweat equity of the community and staff…it just about killed us.” But what almost kills us also makes us stronger. Now in its 22nd year, the festival continues to stretch with new and creative elements, but at the same time, remains true to its original tenets. The tenets of free public access AND celebration of the waterfront continue to support a broad and genuine showcase of local artists and artistry.
Strong sponsorship support, artist participation and volunteerism have helped to build and define the Harmony Arts Festival. Fortunately, for organizers, more than 200 volunteers return each year to deliver a one-of-a-kind and memorable festival experience. When asked why they keep coming back, volunteers say, “It’s the ever-changing waterfront canvas” and “the celebration of local art and performance” that strengthens their desire to participate. The festival is a point of pride for anyone living on the North Shore.
On the heels of a very successful 2011 festival, which attracted more than 100,000 people, the festival logo and website were refreshed to reflect a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the arts, our unique natural landscape and celebration of community in West Vancouver. The new website is just one way to offer more up-to-date information about performances, displays and artists. This year continues with a great local showcase of artists, legendary musicians and performers, displays of Canadian film, cuisine and distinctive wine collections. Join us for the 2012 Harmony Arts Festival.”