Culturama revival an event to build from

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Museum Curator and Culturama’s lead organizer Kayleigh Speirs said she is very pleased with how the event went over and hopes to build on it next year.

“I think, overall, it went fantastically,” Speirs said. “In a lot of ways it exceeded our expectations. We were thrilled with the amount of people that came to see the performers, and with the performances themselves. We had some incredible performances that we were able to bring to Fort Frances.”

“While we only had a few cultural groups represented, we feel the performers represented the spirit behind this revival,” Speirs added in a museum Facebook post. “This modern conception of Culturama is focused, not on creating cultural silos or drawing lines between groups, but on inclusion, celebrating diversity, and building community through cultural interaction and sharing experiences together.”

While it went over well, Speirs says there were some challenges.

“I think there’s still some hesitancy post-COVID of going to and/or participating in events,” Speirs said. “There were some challenges just in terms of getting performers and vendors and things of that sort. But I think that will get easier going forward as people get used to being able to go out and go to events.”

Speirs said while all the performers were great, a few stood out as her favourites.

“It was definitely exciting to see all of the things we planned come to fruition,” Speirs said. “Some of my favourite parts would definitely be Nikki, the Inuit throat singer, she was amazing, and the Ukrainian dance group was definitely a favourite as well, those are the two that stand out.”

The beading workshop was also well attended and many people added a touch to the community mural which will be finished and put on display in the future.

Speirs figures that there were probably around 500 people that came to events throughout the weekend but says she might make a few changes as the event evolves.

“We had a pretty short timeline to put this event together and this is the first year,” Speirs said. “So definitely starting the planning earlier. This year we went with a three-day format but I’d definitely consider a two-day format instead.”

Speirs added that in the future they’d love to have more cultures and people involved and that anyone interested in helping out or joining the committee for next year should get in contact with her at the museum.