Living in this beautiful mountain town it’s easy for the arts come second to extreme sports and lifestyle. After all, that is why we found ourselves here in the first place. But the reason we stay is something much more important. Whistler has more to offer than powder days and steep lines. This month, I have been reminded of the power the arts have in our community, and with the legacy of Chili Thom, I am especially aware of how art reflects this beautiful place I call home. More often than not, these rugged landscapes create avid admiration and inspiration for the arts in Whistler.
Nestled away in the woods, is the picturesque Whistler Secondary School. Here the kids are nothing short of amazing when it comes to sports and activities and we must not forget the arts. I had the opportunity of catching a group of talented grade 9’s and 10’s work away on their Chili Thom inspired art pieces. It is no secret that Chili has inspired many people in our community, and it became abundantly clear to me that his brush and his love for this area has made its way to the students at Whistler Secondary.
At Whistler Secondary School you easily can see the evidence of how art has captured the imagination of the students. There are murals surrounding the halls and a well-stocked art classroom complete with arts pieces in every corner. I vividly remember watching the halls come alive in my time at Whistler Secondary School and was thrilled to recognize that the talent has only thrived since then. Alongside these talented students, guiding them in their full potential with a huge passion for the arts, is Brenda Norrie. With Norrie’s direction and Chili’s inspiration, these youth have been working away at their latest creations for their collection; Inspired by Chili Thom.
Growing up in Whistler I found it extremely important to find this shared sense of community contrasting the fast-paced, high profile, everyday life. The arts have the ability to connect us to our community and with the initiatives such as these, our community has in turn connected us to the arts. The upcoming Chili Thom Experience is a great example of why we stay in Whistler, no matter the reason we come here.
See these works and more during The Chili Thom Experience June 2 – 26. Inspired by Chili Thom will take place at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre from June 2 – 26. These aren’t the only kids in town inspired by Chili! Myrtle Philip Community School, l’École La Passerelle, and Spring Creek Elementary will also be in on the magic with the Little Chilis happening at the Whistler Public Library. Check out all the other Chili-esque events happening throughout June at artswhistler.com/chili
by Steph McColm