A Cultural Perspective: The art of celebrating the new year

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I am a pig. You won’t hear me say that often but according to the Chinese Zodiac that’s what I am. When I read about the pig I found out that the one thing we can’t resist is temptation so I obviously couldn’t resist the temptation to do a New Year’s article to follow the artisans of Christmas piece I did last year.

When Father Time rings in the new year, it is a time for celebration. Be it watching the ball drop in Time Square or dropping into some frigid waters for a polar bear swim, we all have our ways of ringing in the new year.

My mother was born on Dec. 31, so our family always celebrated my mom’s new year. When I was a teenager I celebrated making a killing by babysitting that night and I actually never went to a New Year’s party until I was in my 30s.

New Year’s is also a time of resolutions. We all make them. Some of us try to quit smoking; others go on diets or exercise. Bigger resolutions include changing jobs, changing locales or just accepting new challenges.

I’ve resolved to lose weight, quit smoking, exercise and keep working towards a personal goal I’ve been trying to attain for 10 years (sounds more like a glutton for punishment than a pig).

In China, celebrations will soon breathe life into the year of the dragon. The Chinese New Year is celebrated in February and has 12 different year phases in its cycle; much like Western astrology’s 12 phases of the zodiac in our calendar year. The dragon, however, is the exception, actually coming to life on Jan. 23.

For us westerners, February is the dead of winter. Most of us spend our time trying to figure out how to beat cabin fever or the winter blahs. Some fly the coop like the birds, looking for the sun in the south, and others try to find a just cause for a celebration.

The upcoming February event sponsored by the Community Arts Council of Creston is just what the doctor ordered! Dragons and Artists, a Chinese New Year theme night on from 7-10 p.m. Feb. 18 at Rotacrest Hall, will be a fundraiser for Artwalk.

When the doors open for the evening, there will be several, perhaps as many as 10, artists (myself included) of various mediums at work on a piece that will be raffled off at the end of the evening.

As you watch them create you will be able to purchase raffle tickets for a dollar apiece, then place them in the draw box of the artist whose piece you want. At 9:30, emcee Simon Lazarchuk will collect the boxes and the draws will be made.

At 7:30, the Red Jade Martial Arts studio will do a dragon dance that will be followed by a martial arts demonstration. Jason Deatherage and friends will provide the evening’s music and refreshments will be available, with appetizers being created by Ann Day (a woman of many talents). There will be, of course, a fortune cookie for everyone. Tickets for this event are $10 and are available at Black Bear Books and Kingfisher Used Books.

As Artwalk enters its 17th year, it has a new driver at the wheel. Andrea Revoy, a ceramic artist in Creston, has taken over organizing the event from Nora McDowell and Frank Goodsir.

Prior to taking on this new challenge, Andrea was a participant in Artwalk. As a participant in this event myself, I was happy to hear that someone was going to ensure the event continued.

Andrea has incredible enthusiasm and lots of new ideas that she hopes will create a “must see” Artwalk for both the local community as well as Creston Valley and East Shore visitors.

If you are interested in helping out with organizing the next phase of Artwalk or participating in it, Andrea will be one of the artists at work during the evening, giving you the opportunity to meet her and hear her ideas; an opportunity to find out what Artwalk is all about.

The last fortune cookie I opened said, “The rainbow’s treasures will soon belong to you.” It makes me wonder.

Lori Wikdahl is a Creston Valley artist and a director on the Community Arts Council of Creston board.