What IS the Kootenay Lifestyle? Part 1 – the Arts edition

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Image shows young woman leaping in a full splits in the air on a beach.

The “Kootenay Lifestyle”.  We talk about it a lot – but what exactly is it? Well, it’s not one thing. It’s the way that all the parts meld together to create the vibe that is unique to our region.  One of those parts is the arts -whether it’s painting, fabric art, music, theatre, dance, or whatever. There are a lot of options in our region that contribute to our way of life. So settle in, this is going to be a long one. 😉




In April 2022, Kimberley was crowned as BC’s Best Small Town by CBC listeners. Sure, some of that might have to do with their ski hill, unique Platzl, and cool people but the Kootenay lifestyle and vibrant art scene had to contribute as well.

  • Centre 64 has it all – live theatre and musical performances, painting and sculpture, talented craftspeople, enthusiastic learners, a gallery, and a store! It is also home to Kimberley Arts, which coordinates a variety of events throughout the year including Art in the Garden Tour, kids summer camps, the Kimberley Kaleidoscope Juried Art Show, and a range of solo art exhibitions.
  • Each year, the Kimberley Arts Council holds the Artrageous – Open Art Exhibition. In 2021 and 2022, the Exhibition has celebrated Pride, including through the creation of the Centre’s pride wall. Great art and inclusion! That’s the Kootenay way.
  • Additional art galleries in Kimberley include The Laundromat,  the Little Big Studio and Gallery, and Mountain Grass Gallery and Bistro
  • A different musical headliner rocks the crowd each year at the annual JulyFest celebration (more on this in a future post) and, as mentioned above, the Symphony of the Kootenays holds Symphony on the Mountain annually.
  • For those possessing a gift for dance, the Kootenay Dance Academy also has a Kimberley studio and Kimberley Danceworks provides the opportunity to compete in a wide-range of disciplines.
  • And for those pursuing more literary experiences, Kimberley authors W.R. (Bill) RobertsSmokii Sumac, Kevin Miller, Terry Anne Wilson, Brenden Gillen, and Bruce Kirkby have you covered.



The Creston Valley is home to a thriving arts community thanks to the Creston Valley Arts Council and a variety of galleries.



Fernie boasts a historic downtown, a first-class ski hill, amazing views, and a diverse and flourishing arts scene.



Located on Lake Windermere, Invermere is a picturesque and vibrant community with a diverse range of cultural experiences available.

  • If you’re a fan of the Netflix show Cheer!, you’ll be interested to know that Invermere has the only cheerleading gym in the Kootenay Valley. Confi-Dance Athletics also offers competitive dance programs, preschool programs, camps, and drop-in Adult Dance Classes.
  • Invermere plays host to the annual Locals Live Concert Series in July and August each year. This FREE event is held on Thursday evenings and features a different band each week of the 8-week series. Also on the musical front, the Second Winds Community Band often performs at community events.
  • Columbia Valley Arts offers events (like their Community Love Canada Day Celebration held in 2022), a regularly rotating series of exhibits, and workshops. The home of CV Arts – the Pynelogs Cultural Centre and Art Gallery – was originally built in 1914 as a family home before being transformed into a hospital, then a home for the elderly, and finally Columbia Valley Arts Council’s base for all things cultural. Pynelogs hosts a year-round art gallery and gift shop and welcomes a variety of arts-related performers including musical, dramatic, and comedy concerts, festivals, an independent film series, and Open Mic Nights.
  • The Effusion Art Gallery + Glass Studio, Artym Gallery, Art on 9th,  Village Arts, Trich Gaul ArtBlack Star Studios. and Bavin Glassworks are some of the other galleries and studios located in Invermere.
  • Authors Elinor Florence, James Rose, and Maureen Thorpe all call Invermere home while author Colin Cartwright is from nearby Canal Flats.



When you’re in Golden, you are surrounded by six of our country’s most striking national parks. For some that would be enough, but for artists and art-lovers, the community offers an abundance of additional options.


So, there you have it. The first piece of the puzzle. Kootenay Lifestyle includes embracing the arts and cultural events and opportunities that surround us. Whether it is the beauty of our surroundings, or the beauty brought to us by artists in their many forms – the Kootenay lifestyle appreciates it all. (Apologies to any artists, performers, galleries, studios, or events that may have been unintentionally missed)

Stay tuned next week when we look at another component that makes the Kootenay Lifestyle unique.