The Creston Valley Arts Council recognized the contributions of Frank Goodsir at the opening of its current show, Home Is Where the Art Is, on Jan. 10. The longtime volunteer and arts advocate was presented with a plaque in a surprise ceremony at the event.
“Frank is kind of a guiding light,” said arts council president Brenda Brucker at the presentation.
“He really is Mr. Arts,” said Footlighters Theatre Society vice-president Ann Deatherage.
Over his 41 years in Creston, Goodsir — who came to Canada from New Zealand in the late 1960s — has served on the arts council and Creston Community Auditorium Society boards, is one of the organizers of Focus on Youth and the now-defunct Creston Valley Art Walk, and is a co-founder and currently treasurer of Footlighters Theatre Society.
“It is important, as far as I’m concerned, to be a part of a community,” Goodsir told the Advance after the event. “Some do it through sports, community service, church. I do it through the arts. My main focus is the theatre aspect of my volunteer work, but I appreciate all the talent in the arts in this valley, so I do volunteer work for all the arts. Being part of a thriving arts community is important to me.”
With much of his work centred around theatre, Goodsir has directed about 50 shows for Footlighters and the now-defunct Creston Valley Drama Club, as well as many with students — from Cats to Pirates of Penzance to his own take on fairy tales — while he taught at Adam Robertson Elementary School.
“In all, I’ve been involved in over 200 shows, from writer to director to actor to set design to photographer to publicist and to ticket seller at the door,” he said.
He has also been chair of Theatre BC’s Kootenay Zone, and in 2009 received the organization’s Eric Hamber Award, awarded to a person, group or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to community theatre in B.C.
Goodsir has overseen many arts council projects over the years — “most successful, a few failures” — and while success is a reward in itself, the official acknowledgment is meaningful.
“Being recognized in this way is like the arts community in Creston saying they appreciate all the projects I have worked on in the last 41 years,” he said.
One of his dreams for the arts community is to see various mediums have a home base, such as an arts centre, with meeting rooms, gallery space and a gift shop with a storefront — as well, of course, rehearsal and storage space for theatre groups.
He is pleased to see that the arts community has expanded, particularly since the Prince Charles Theatre opened in 1988, and that grants from the provincial and federal governments, the Town of Creston, Regional District of Central Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust are making additional support possible.
“When I first came, there were very few ‘art events’ to take up one’s time,” he said. “Now there are too many — I can’t go to everything being offered in this town.”