OSAC mentoring program continues in Weyburn

A new mentor for the SPARK program through the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC) is being trained in Weyburn, as part of the involvement of the Weyburn Concert Series with the provincial organization.

Laura Foote, a recent graduate of the Weyburn Comp, is being mentored by Sara Nikolejsin, the SPARK coordinator for the Concert Series.

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The SPARK program was introduced by OSAC as a way “to engage people under age 29 as audiences, participants, and decision-makers, and enable them to make an impact in their communities.”

The goal is to give young adults a sense of ownership and personal investment in the local arts group, and through this, “SPARK aims to develop the next generation of performing arts presenters in Saskatchewan communities.”

Nikolejsin said she is being groomed by Lynn Kot to be more involved in the Concert Series, and in turn she is mentoring Foote.

One of the projects that she and Foote are working on is to select and present a show which they believe they can market to their peers, namely other young adults and teens.

“I’m seeing a lot of the business side of a show,” said Foote, who has been trained in setting up the stage lights, and the power-point projection that is used at each of the concerts to provide updates and information to the audience about the Concert Series and upcoming performances.

Foote is also working with the players from the Gold Wings midget girls hockey team, to encourage them to help out volunteering by taking tickets or providing hospitality at Concert Series performances.

As a student, Foote was involved as a performer, such as in Comp musicals or with the STARS Show Choir, but now in her mentorship, she is being exposed to the business side of a show, including how a performer is booked and is looked after when they arrive to perform at the Cugnet Centre venue.

She wants to continue to be involved in the arts as much as possible, even though she has graduated from the Comp and no longer has that avenue for involvement.

“This would be an excellent thing to put on my resume,” said Foote, adding she would like to stay involved with the Concert Series for as long as she is in Weyburn.

Part of her efforts to bring out more young people to the concerts is to book in acts that they might like to see, and she promotes it through social media sites. With this in mind, she is helping to promote the Concert Series’ next presentation, the band, “Pretty Archie”, who will perform at the Cugnet Centre on Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Pretty Archie is a four-piece band from Cape Breton, whose repertoire includes Americana, bluegrass, country and blues to create their unique sound. Their albums have received multiple East Coast Music Award nominations, and they have entertained audiences from coast to coast.

OSAC is an umbrella organization that enables groups like the Weyburn Concert Series to hold live, professional music and theatre performances, visual arts exhibitions, workshops and special events.

Most recently, OSAC and the Concert Series brought in Canadian superstar Jann Arden, and Ballet Jorgen, who presented “The Nutcracker” ballet, which featured local dancers as part of the performance.