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Culture Days — here's what's happening in New Westminster

The second annual Culture Days hits B.C. this weekend with artist-driven events taking place across New Westminster from Friday through Sunday.

Eight hundred communities across the nation are organizing free festivities in an effort to foster appreciation for the arts and help Canadians participate in their communities' cultural life.

"We've seen an increase of at least 25 per cent in terms of increase in activities throughout the country," said Trudy Van Dop, B.C. program director for Culture Days.

Van Dop's own gallery in New Westminster will be presenting the works of three B.C. artists at the From Land to Sea exhibit held at the River Market on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Artists Maggie White, Peter Molenaar and Carole Arnston will showcase their visions of nature and the ominous qualities of land and sea from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Another West Coast painter, who goes only by the name Monk, will be at the River Market all day Saturday where she will be working on her new mural, The Path of Life.

Monk previously dedicated a painting to the memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luger who died the day of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics opening ceremonies, and even brought the artwork to his family in Georgia.

Von Dop said people who drop by the River Market to watch Monk paint her new creation will have the chance to join in and help the artist work on the mural.

"It's quite something," Van Dop said.

Paintings by landscape artist Peter Csizmar will be on display Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Gabor Gasztonyi Gallery located at 730 12th St.

Csizmar, who was born in Germany, raised in Serbia and now lives in Vancouver, will be on hand all day Saturday to interact with novice art lovers and aficionados alike.

Not all the activities taking place in New Westminster this weekend will be focused on paintings, though.

People can drop by the Amelia Douglas Gallery at Douglas College Friday and Saturday to check out Greenlinks 2011: Insects.

Artwork depicting bugs will be on display from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. while people can also take a self-guided tour of an exhibit dedicated to studying six-legged creatures. Tiko Kerr and Ivan Droujinin are responsible for the art while the insect exhibit is provided by the Douglas College Institute of Urban Ecology.

Van Dop said the weekend is a good way to experience the culture in one's own community as well as neighbouring communities.

More information, including a full description of events and maps of the exhibition sites, can be found at http://www.culturedays.ca.

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