Our Cultural Strengths

2.6 Acheiving our Culture and Recreation Vision
Arts & Culture Are Essential
We know that arts and culture are essential to our ability to thrive and grow. Not only are arts and culture central to quality of life, but they attract the creative class that our community needs in an era when creativity matters more than ever.
The visual, literary and performing arts have long been an important aspect of life in our community - both in town and in outlying areas. For example, the Foothills Male Chorus, which was formed in 2005, traces its roots to the 1950’s, when a male quartet first convened to sing and entertain in the town. Break-a-Leg Theatre, a familiar name since 1995, began in the early 1970’s as the Hinton Dramatic Society. The community’s ethnic groups are also committed to maintaining their culture. For example, the Greek Community Club and the Colours Dancing In (with its focuses on Aboriginal dance) provide integral connections with their respective communities. These activities contribute to our community on a number of levels: personal, social, cultural and economic.

In an effort to support and build on that strong artistic tradition, Hinton Town Council in 2009 adopted the Culture Policy presented by the Committee for Arts and Culture to guide growth in these areas.

The resulting strategic plan contains initiatives for building up four cultural pillars: visual arts, performing arts, culture, heritage and literary arts.
Music Festival
Festival Events
No doubt about it, we love our festivals! The Town of Hinton hosts two signature events that have captured widespread support. At the Föhn Festival, held on Canada Day, we showcase local history and our rich mix of cultures. Named after the chinook winds, the festival attracts nearly 3,000 people and features food, dance, song, parades, crafts and art from
the diverse cultures in our community. The Winter Magic Festival offers a mix of winter activities that attracts families and fun-lovers of all ages.

Heading out of Town a bit, the annual Wild Mountain Music Festival is held at Entrance Ranch northwest of Hinton. At this event, local musicians perform alongside their counterparts from across the country. Hosted by the Hinton Jazz Society since 2008, the festival attracted over 2,000 music lovers in 2010.

The community is host to two annual rodeos, the Brule Rodeo and Mary Reimer Memorial Rodeo. The rodeos attract people annually from far and wide. The entire region is also well-served by the Yellowhead Regional Arts Festival Society, which has emerged as a leader in the local arts community. The festival invites participants of all ages and abilities to share their talents and receive feedback in an encouraging atmosphere. But its work does not stop there. The society also holds arts-related workshops and hosts many events throughout the year, including Journey into Christmas and an annual celebration of the arts called, “Arts on Fire”. The Yellowhead Regional Arts Festival Society has also become the lead agency behind a “Creative Campus” initiative that is developing a unique network of cultural organizations in Hinton, Edson, Grande Cache and Jasper.
2.1 Our cultural strengths 2
Creative Connections
Our community supports artists, creators, performers and cultural collectives with a variety of interests: music, dance, theatre, quilting and sculpting to name a few. Although many of these individuals and groups work in homes and scattered offices, central nodes provide them with a place to connect and recharge. For example, since 2009, Creative Campus, the Hinton Art Club, Rocky Mountain Quilters and the Athabasca River Potters Guild have shared space in a redeveloped building known as The Guild. Formerly, Hinton’s Protective Services Building, the site also houses Family and Community Support Services and a community gathering space.

As well, the Hinton Municipal Library provides a connecting point for those who are lured by the historical, literary or visual arts. Library users can access the 40,000 item collection, online sources and materials from other libraries, or
they can participate in a variety of programs such as author readings, pre-school story time, a book club or literacy events - to name a few. The library also houses the Coal Branch Archives and is generally seen as a centre of information and communication for the community. A board appointed by the Hinton Town Council manages the library, which receives a combination of provincial grants and funds from the Town of Hinton and Yellowhead County.

Members of the Aboriginal community gather at the Hinton Friendship Centre. The centre’s mandate is to strengthen Aboriginal culture while encouraging equal access to and participation in Canadian society. All community members, regardless of place of origin or status, are welcome to drop in at the centre and participate in the centre’s services and programming.

Here is one example of the way community members have received awards for their achievements.
“Local author wins fiction competition” - The Hinton Voice, November 2010
Amber Hayward through her story about fishermen dealing with turmoil and doubts of a major storm would resonate well with judges of an east coast writing competition. She was right. Hayward's story 'In the Storm' earned top prize in the 6 Sheldon Currie Fiction Contest, which is sponsored by the Antigonish Review in Nova Scotia… Hayward has lived in the Hinton area since 1976 and is co-owner of the Black Cat Guest Ranch
Wenger Showmobile
Performance Venues
For the arts to flourish, we need performance spaces. Hinton’s main space, a performing arts and movie theatre, was destroyed by fire in 2009. Not wanting to lose that welcome collaboration between theatre and film, the town partnered with Landmark Cinemas with the aim of opening a new joint facility.
Dance, theatre and music also occur in church basements, school gyms, coffee shops, bars and lounges, the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre (including the People’s Centre), the Hinton Municipal Library, The Guild and the Hinton Centre. Many residents host home concerts, inviting guests into their living rooms for intimate musical evenings. Movies are shown at The Guild and elsewhere. As well, the Town has a fully equipped mobile stage, the Wenger Showmobile, which is used for indoor and outdoor events.

In rural areas such as Brule and Cadomin, cultural and leisure events take place in community halls that are operated by local community groups in partnership with Yellowhead County.
“We should construct an outdoor amphitheatre…and use the natural landscape as a stepped seating area.” - Community Consultation Participant
Arts & Culture Coordinator
Visual Arts Venues
In recent years, a number of venues, both public and private, have been displaying indoor art. The Library, The Guild, the recreation centre, the Hinton Government Centre, the museum and various boutiques in town and in smaller centres are all committed to displaying the work of local artists. As well, the town participates in travelling exhibition programs that bring selections of provincial art to the library, The Guild and the Government Centre. The travelling exhibits are sponsored and/or partially funded by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.