The Olympic Arts Festival

The lazy days of summer call for popsicles, swimming and, of course, a good book. The new Whistler Public Library is getting set to launch its Summer Reading Club 2008 to help encourage kids from preschool to Grade 4 to get lost in the literary world over the break.

More than 100 local children, and 65,000 throughout the province, typically participate in this annual free program, which is sponsored by the British Columbia Library Association, the Whistler Public Library, and the Public Library Services Branch of the Ministry of Education.

Reading Club meetings will be held on Thursdays throughout the month of July at the library, with three sessions that are appropriate for different developmental levels. Preschoolers will meet from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m., kindergarten to Grade 2 will meet from 11 a.m. until noon, and Grades 3 to 4 will meet from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.

The 2008 Cultural Olympiad featured more than 300 performances and exhibitions in Metro Vancouver and the Sea to Sky corridor, which took place over a seven-week period starting in February. Presented in partnership with over 60 arts and cultural organizations, the events were designed to capture the vitality and diversity of Canada's arts and culture scene.

"We've always been committed to introducing audiences to our diverse cultural community and encouraging them to take part in experiences beyond their comfort zone, " Robert Kerr, VANOC program director of the Cultural Olympiad, said in a press release. "Judging by our strong attendance numbers and the demographic diversity of our audiences, we're off to a good start."

Now, the momentum for the 2009 Cultural Olympiad is growing. Organizers have already announced two major international events that will be part of next year's celebrations. They're also looking for ideas for the 2010 Cultural Olympiad, which will feature local, national and international programming, including the Olympic Arts Festival, which will run from Jan. 22, 2010 until Feb. 28, 2010, and the Paralympic Arts Festival, which will run from March 12, 2010 until March 21, 2010. Organizers are asking non-profit arts organizations and educational institutions that are interested in presenting an event or exhibition to submit their proposals by Sept. 30, 2008.

VANOC has also recently launched a new artist registry for individuals or ensembles interested in participating in the Cultural Olympiad or other Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games programs.

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