Explore the arts
The CVRD’s Arts and Culture Division operates the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, and fosters collaboration, networking and partnerships between regional artists and arts organizations. The division also supports Cowichan Culture a “go to” website that includes an arts events calendar and an artist directory and resource guide.
Cowichan information and resources
World-renowned painters, potters, weavers, jewellers, woodcrafters and sculptors find inspiration in the Cowichan landscape and lifestyle. Five arts councils and numerous arts organizations represent local visual artists, including:
- Cowichan Valley Arts Council
- Chemainus Valley Arts Council
- Ladysmith & District Arts Council
- Cowichan Lake Arts and Culture Council
- Cowichan South Arts Guild
- Cowichan Artisans
- Visions Artisans
First Nations arts and culture
First Nations culture, art, history, traditions, food and ceremonies contribute to the rich tapestry of the region. From iconic Cowichan sweaters to the totems that grace Duncan’s streets to basketry, jewellery and carvings, the creativity, history and passion of local indigenous artists is evident in many locations, including galleries, studios and museums in Cowichan. Traditional dance, drumming and storytelling are the focal point of First Nations gatherings throughout the region.
Cowichan’s many performance venues play host to live theatre, dance and music productions:
- The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is one of the busiest professional presenting theatres in Western Canada.
- Professional productions mounted at Chemainus Theatre win accolades from 70,000 patrons annually.
- The T. Gill Bunch Centre for Performing Arts at Brentwood College is a teaching centre that also hosts theatre, dance and musical performances.
- Ladysmith Little Theatre showcases a full season of amateur theatre productions.
- The Duncan Showroom in downtown Duncan features outstanding musical performers from across Canada.
Festivals and events
The Islands Folk Festival at Providence Farm has been going strong for more than 30 years, while 39 Days of July makes the downtown streets in Duncan come alive throughout the summer. Laketown Ranch, just outside scenic Lake Cowichan, is home to Sunfest, one of the biggest country music festivals in BC. Weekend music festivals ranging from jazz, to bluegrass, to accordion are hosted throughout the summer in Chemainus, which has one of the most renowned outdoor mural collections in the world.
Each summer, Cobble Hill celebrates Music in the Park, and Ladysmith hosts Arts on the Avenue. The Koksilah Music Festival brings an eclectic range of performers to South Cowichan in September. And during the holiday season, people travel from far and wide to see the Ladysmith Festival of Lights.
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