Cowichan Lake Idol, here introduced at The Flats Stage by Katherine Worsley, isn’t the only way Sunfest supports young talent. They also donate to the Cowichan Valley Performing Arts Foundation. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Column: Get art smart, fill up your calendar, and celebrate young talent in year-end grab-bag

Take a peek at what you could be doing in January, and then start scheduling.

Our friends at Imagine That! Artisans’ Designs have shared the news that the gallery is celebrating its 24th year by showcasing the work of selected artists beyond the holiday shopping season into the new year.

If you’ve never visited this special shop in City Square in Duncan, or if you haven’t been for a while, this is the time to go.

In both the main and boutique windows, you will see some of the finest hand-made work from Vancouver Island, and some of the adjacent islands.

The displays open a cornucopia of craftsmanship, diversity, beauty, and practicality.

This special show continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 until Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. (I don’t usually write the year, but for this I can.)

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Meanwhile, the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre will be gearing up quickly for January 2018 as well.

They’ve got a merry melange of offerings for every taste, including:

• CVRD Placemaking presents Gil Penalosa in a discussion on how to create healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities for everyone regardless of age, gender, or social status on Tuesday, Jan. 16 starting at 7 p.m.

• International Guitar Night, featuring another remarkable night of guitar showmanship from a group of superb players returns to its Cowichan roots on Thursday, Jan. 18 starting at 7:30 p.m.

• The Vancouver Island Symphony takes to the big stage on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. with selections by Mozart and Haydn.

• The Cowichan Hospice Reel Alternatives film series brings the story of Hedy Lamarr, the world’s most beautiful woman in her day, who was also, surprisingly, the inventor of secure Wifi, bluetooth, and GPS. See her story in a film called Bombshell on Monday, Jan. 22 starting at 7 p.m.

• More super stuff on the big screen takes place Thursday, Jan. 25 when the National Theatre of Britain presents Young Marx, featuring Rory Kinnear in a brilliant comedy about that revolutionary guy, Karl Heinrich Marx.

• And, of course, the Metropolitan opera is back onscreen on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 9:55 a.m. (No explanation is needed about that for any opera fan). This time, it’s Tosca! Clear the decks, unbridled passion rules supreme in this Puccini favourite.

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Erin Richards, the Marketing and PR manager for Laketown Ranch, passed along the news that the Laketown Ranch Benevolent Society has presented a $5,000 cheque to the Cowichan Valley Performing Arts Foundation (CVPAF) for 10 scholarships to young, local musicians.

For Laketown Ranch and Wideglide Entertainment — the event production company that created Sunfest Country Music Festival and Laketown Rock Music Festival — supporting young musicians in the Cowichan Valley is important. They gave stage time during Sunfest to Lake Cowichan Idol and this just adds to that effort.

“Giving back to our community has always been a part of our mandate and a measure for the success of our events. Last year we created the Laketown Ranch Benevolent Society in order to continue this giving in a more official capacity,” said Greg Adams, owner of Laketown Ranch and president of Wideglide Entertainment.

The Laketown Ranch Benevolent Society chose to donate to the CVPAF because of the group’s tireless support of Cowichan Valley youth in the performing arts and their families.

“First and foremost, we want to support the families in our community. We hope these scholarships will not only help these kids pursue their musical passions, but also give their parents a break from bearing the financial weight of music lessons,” said Adams.

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