Gabriola’s Nurture Arts Festival Features Film, Music and More

The Gabriola Arts Council’s annual celebration will take place July 10-14 at multiple venues

The Gabriola Arts Council’s annual celebration of the arts will kick off a whirlwind four days of celebration on the island this week.

From Wednesday to Sunday, July 10-14, patrons can immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of the city’s sixth Cultivate Arts Festival, which will feature 11 events.

This year’s festival will focus on the main stage at the Gabriola Public Reservoir. Events will be held Thursday through Sunday during the day at the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Center, the Gabriola Theater Center and the Poetry Yurt in the Gabriola Commons.

While this year’s program mainly consists of sound and music events, there will also be puppet shows and workshops, artistic performances by Gabriola actors, and film screenings haley ross.

Cultivate project manager Chelsea Rushton said she was excited about the potential of the first film screening as part of Cultivate.

haley rossWritten and directed by Sandy Summers, Romantic Comedy opens July 13 at the Gabriola Theater Center and is described as “a heartfelt contemporary family comedy about love in all its expressions.” The film premiered at the 2023 Sudbury International Film Festival and subsequently screened at the 2023 Calgary International Film Festival and the 2023 Whistler Film Festival.

Emhain, who plays the title role, said in an email that they are excited that the film will be released on Gabriella Island.

“I have a deep personal connection to the West Coast…yet the film itself is very East Coast. The story takes place in Cape Breton, on the opposite side of the country. It has a very unique culture, accent and frequency,” they said.

Hayne went on to say that at other festivals, the feedback the staff received was about the authenticity of the characters.

“We captured some small towns in Canada here, including the people there. Sandy [the writer] Committed to authentic casting and writing about things she knew growing up in Cape Breton.

As for the actor, Hayne said they had a unique connection with Haley – a 20-something lesbian who returns home to grapple with childhood trauma. They said doing so wasn’t necessarily a task on their or the character’s to-do list.

“Life has a funny way of letting you find yourself, doesn’t it?” they asked.

The Cultivation screening will include a conversation and audience Q&A with Hayne and Derek Le Beau, lead researcher at the Queer Film Archive.

As a new partner of Cultivate, the Brickyard Beach Music and Arts Festival will kick off the festivities on Wednesday, July 10th in Brickyard Beach.

According to Rushton, the event’s founder, Adam Larson, has been holding community festivals for three years. Inclusion in Cultivate recognizes his efforts to provide Gabriola residents with weekly activities throughout the summer. In addition to Cultivate, the Brickyard Beach Music and Arts Festival will be held independently every Wednesday until September 4th.

Cultivate will conclude on July 14 with a closing performance by blues musician Jim Byrnes, an Order of Canada recipient and BC Entertainment Hall of Fame inductee, who has many award-winning albums such as the Maple Blues Award, Junos Award, Canada Award, etc. He will also appear in Nanaimo during the Nanaimo Blues Society Blues Festival in August.

For more information about Cultivate Festival, please visit

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