With the combined sound of traditional instruments from around the world filling The ACT's studio theatre on Saturday, the driving ideal behind the Culture Days celebration could easily be felt.
"For me, I feel it's really important for us to see and share in the diversity of our cultures and build more appreciation for...[their] place in our lives," said ACT executive director Lindy Sisson.
The fourth annual Culture Days - a national, three-day celebration meant to expose Canadians to new forms of art and culture - saw the Maple Ridge theatre showcasing different artistic expressions, representing the variety of cultures that run through the community.
The Culture Days website says the celebration was created in response to "the growing recognition that a vibrant arts and cultural sector contributes directly to a healthy and stable society."
Through Saturday's event, ACT communications manager Karen Pighin hoped the community would take away a greater awareness of the theatre and its programs.
She noted between 250 and 300 people attended the afternoon events.
"The goal is to welcome everybody from the community and make them feel that the centre is not some place were they can't see themselves," Pighin said.
"We've created some really fun workshops."
Attendees could learn about the use of tea as art and ceremony in different cultures, or participate in a belly dancing class.
For many, the highlight was a performance by the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, a concert orchestra that combines the sounds of various traditional instruments to create contemporary arrangements.
Sisson, who helped organize the day as a partnership with the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council and the Family Education and Support Centre, saw the orchestra as reflecting the core values that the Culture Days weekend is trying to promote.
"To work together to compose and highlight the beauty of the different instruments and the harmony that comes from that, I think it's just a great example for everyone to see," she said.
"I absolutely love the cooperation between the people to create new music."
The day also involved traditional Chinese singing, a native hoop and jingle dance, as well as a Polynesian dance performance from the Spirit of the Pacific Cultural Society.
@ Copyright 2013