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Columbia Basin Culture Tour back again

August 10-11 the Columbia Basin Culture Tour allows you to explore artists’ studios, museums, art galleries and heritage sites

Natasha Smith

Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance

Taking place August 10-11 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., the Columbia Basin Culture Tour allows you to explore artists’ studios, museums, art galleries and heritage sites during this free, self-guided event. Travel to studios and archives that aren’t normally open, see demonstrations, new exhibitions and collections or meet people behind the scenes. To participate in the tour, simply grab a map, your Culture Tour Directory and go.

In Valemount, (meaning Valley in the Mountains), you will find Valemount Museum & Archives which is located in the original train station that was built in 1914. This historic building houses many displays, artifacts and history for you to see and discover, including a railroad room with a model railroad. Next year the Valemount Museum will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the existence of its building.

Just 10 kilometres west of Golden is Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch, which is a cultural and educational destination. You will learn in-depth about buffalo and what it’s like to live among them. Tours last about an hour and begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. every day. If you get here early, you can have a buffalo burger and relax in one of the most beautiful and peaceful settings anyone could ask for. The tour begins with a short walk to find the buffalo, which are usually nearby and easy to see from the large viewing platform. Leo Downey will then show you things made from buffalo including native artifacts and much more.

The Art Gallery of Golden is a true reflection of our western mountain culture. They’ve gone up and down the valley and over the hills to bring you wonderful handcrafted art and gifts from many Basin artists. This summer, AGOG is featuring artist John Harman’s exhibit The Columbia River in Canada, a beautiful series of watercolours of the Columbia River. Canyon Creek Pottery offers the unique functional pottery of Lee Bedford. Wheel-throwing demonstrations will happen throughout the weekend.

Approximately 50 km north of Radium in Castledale you will find Masks for all Reasons where Pam Williamson has been creating masks from vegetable dyed leather, and embelleshing them with non-toxic paints and dyes. They are truly “Wearable Art”. Pam will be demonstrating mask-making throughout the tour.

In Invermere you will find Pynelogs Art Gallery and Cultural Centre. This historical edifice serves as the primary venue for a variety of arts-related events. There is also a gift shop featuring the works of local artist and artisans. Don’t forget to enjoy a meal at the Café that operates from this historic building.  Alice Hale has been working in clay for more than 35 years and will showcase her work at her studio in Invermere. Alice uses many firing methods such as sawdust firing, saggar firing, and raku for her works that are more artistic in nature and her functional pieces are electric or gas fired.

Located in Windermere, Sandpiper hot glass studio was formed in 2008 to create and showcase the individual and collaborative work of Gordon Webster and Julie Gibb who have been working with glass since 1999. Gordon received a BFA from the Glass Program at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Julie is a graduate of the School of Crafts and Design at Sheridan College. Gordon and Julie have received numerous awards for their work over the years.

Near Fairmont Hot Springs visit sculptor Pat Luders at Labyrinth Studio, her sculpture has two distinct streams; her love of people which is expressed in her Classical Bronze portraits, while her abstract multi-media tables allow freer scope for cultural and intuitive ideas and images.

Tour brochures are available at tourist information centres and participating venues. Visit the website at to view full artist/venue profiles for further details on each location’s activities or register to receive a tour brochure in the mail.

For further information, call the CKCA at 1-250-505-5505 or toll free at 1-877-505-7355. The Columbia Basin Culture Tour is generously supported by Columbia Basin Trust funding.