Artists unite for the planet

Festival takes place April 20-22 at St. Matthias Anglican Church in Victoria

Volunteer Eira-Shay Barker-Hart

Give green a chance. That’s the message being spread by volunteers of the Creatively United for the Planet Festival.

The inaugural festival, taking place during Earth Week (April 20-22), aims to bring together creative people and environmental-based charities for a fun, family-friendly weekend while also raising awareness for positive change.

“Our goal is to inspire environmental awareness and build community through creativity,” Frances Litman, founder of Creatively United for the Planet, said.

Artists have always been the leaders in change, bringing issues forward to the public, Litman said.

An artist herself, Litman has always supported various environmental-based charities. She started Creatively United about two years ago because she felt not enough was being done to help them.

The idea behind the event was to find a way to reach people who say they are either too busy or too intimidated to help, she said.

“It’s easy to preach to the converted about why the environment is important,” Litman said. “I thought if I create something that’s really fun, where (people) can bring their families and it’s free, what a great way for them to be able to make a difference too.”

Creatively United was first started as a website to help raise funds for local environmental charities. Litman said she hopes the Earth Week fundraiser will be the start of an annual event to raise funds for these causes.

We need to protect and preserve the environment we live in, before everything natural to us disappears forever, she said.

“We have areas (in B.C.) that are unlike anywhere else in the world and we (at Creatively United) feel that they should be world heritage sites, not mining sites, not oil company sites,” she added.

The festival offers a wide selection of mostly free, indoor and outdoor activities, including concerts, art-making, music, displays and lectures, for people of all ages.

A free disco-mardi gras themed dance party kicks off the celebration on Friday night (April 20) at 7 p.m.

On Saturday night (April 21) there will be a funky fashion show featuring local designers. The show runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and is followed by a funk, soul and R&B dance with the Soul Shakers.

Renowned artist Robert Bateman will speak on Sunday (April 22) at 3 p.m., followed by a John Lennon tribute concert. There will also be a limited edition signed print by Bateman for auction.

The events which require advanced ticket purchases are the funky fashion show and dance, Ann Mortifee and Paul Horn, and the finale event with Robert Bateman and the John Lennon tribute concert. All other events are free or by donation. Tickets range from $30- $35.

Proceeds will be divided among 15 participating environmental charities. Guests can learn about each organization at information booths set up throughout the event.

The Festival takes place April 20-22 at St. Matthias Anglican Church, 600 Richmond Ave.

To purchase tickets or see a full schedule of events, visit creativelyunitedfortheplanet.com.

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