Animateurs Key in Culture Days Success

By: Michelle Brownridge December, 2012

Since Culture Days began in 2010, SaskCulture has hired artists from various disciplines to travel across the province to contact local community planners, libraries, museums and artists to help brainstorm ideas and build community support for Culture Days.

"It was certainly an adventure to experience the passion of Saskatchewan as it exists in the talents, tales and heritage of communities," says Danica Lorer, a storyteller and 2012 Culture Days Animateur. She adds, "Volunteers were amazing wherever I went and I believe in the heart of Culture Days in Saskatchewan. We are a province with so much to share."

Along with Lorer, the Culture Days Animateurs in 2012 were children’s entertainer Sylvia Chave, musician Vincent Houghtaling and actor/musician Erroll Kinistino. Each Animateur focused on a particular area of the province.

Culture Days, held the last weekend in September each year, is a collaborative, pan-Canadian movement that aims to raise awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement by all people in the cultural life of their local communities.

One of the main goals of Culture Days is to encourage community organizers to offer interactive cultural activities. As artists, Animateurs are experienced in engaging audiences and are eager to share their passion for creativity. They are able to help organizations brainstorm and plan interactive activities.

This year, Animateur Sylvia Chave wrote a customizable Culture Days song called the Dream Team Song. People were able to download the song, music and lyrics and write their own verses. "I think the song was a wonderful vehicle to engage people," says Chave. She adds, "Music really does create community. Watching all the kids creating their own actions and lyrics was one of my favourite moments, I never got enough of it."

Lorer approached her term as an Animateur with a storytelling perspective. Her workshop was entitled Words, Webs and a Story Unwinds. She would begin by explaining how an entire story can grow from only one word, then, pass out ribbons and beads with one word on them. Participants were asked if they could think of a story about the word on their bead. After the stories were shared, the ribbons were weaved together to create web of intersecting stories. "The stories that grew out of the activity were remembered tales from childhood, memories and original and creative pieces born on the spot," she says.

Both Houghtaling and Kinistino engaged several areas of the province. Houghtaling focused on the southern part of the province participating in several events including the Windscape Kite Festival in Swift Current, the Festival of Words in Moose Jaw and the Spiralling Forces Festival in Regina. Kinistino shared the Culture Days opportunity with First Nations leaders. "I really enjoyed the opportunity to travel throughout the province, make new connections and tell them about Culture Days," says Kinistino.

Lorer hopes that she will have left a lasting impression with the communities she visited during her time as an Animateur. "I think I have planted a few seeds and that Culture Days will continue to grow in this province. My own heart will always be grateful for the experience of being a Culture Days Animateur," she remarks.

For more information about Culture Days, visit

You can hear Sylvia Chave's Dream Team Song by visiting