Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Diverse Whitehorse Art Scene Undiscovered Yukon Gold

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Diverse Whitehorse Art Scene Undiscovered Yukon Gold

Article excerpt

Whitehorse art scene undiscovered Yukon gold


WHITEHORSE - Yukon: Home of hairy-chested adventure, sled dogs, wilderness, gold panners and all that stuff.

Or not.

Yes, there's plenty of opportunity to free your inner Klondiker -- extensive mountain bike trails, kayaking, ready access to vast stretches of wild country that will recall any stray snatches of Robert W. Service poems that lurk in your memory.

But for those who prefer to mix a little esthetics in with their athletics, Whitehorse offers adventure of a different kind. This city of 28,000 has an amazing variety of art and culture to nurture the soul after all that moiling.

"Culture is really important to us," said Mary Emslie of the Yukon Arts Centre.

"It gets us through the winter, and in summer there's so much light we don't have to sleep."

Whitehorse has the only performing arts centre in Canada north of 60. It also has the North's only public art gallery.

It has its own Nuit Blanche -- a northern version of the nighttime festivals of art and design popular in southern cities like Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton. Bus shelters in the city showcase First Nations artists.

It boasts 19 pieces of significant public art in and around the attractive downtown and riverfront. That's everything from the large bronze of the prospector and his dog (across from the bust of CanLit icon and hometown boy Pierre Berton) to the playful and oh-so-Yukon Raven House, a fanciful construction of the sort of dwelling the imposing corvids might build, assembled out of old locomotive parts.

But you don't have to just visit galleries.

Whitehorse publishes a guide to working artist studios. A simple phone call and you're there with the artist and the work, watching the process unfold.

"To me, the exciting thing is the diversity," said Mary Bradshaw, curator of the arts centre gallery. "We're not just known for carving, or a certain type of music."

The guide lists 38 different studios run by artists willing to show visitors around. …

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