A salmon will lead audiences from site to site during the festival Saturday.

A salmon will lead audiences from site to site during the festival Saturday.

Arts festival melds talents of visiting artists and local teens

Artists will be all over town next weekend as they take part in the Northern B.C. Arts Festival.

High school students will be singing and dancing all over town next weekend as they take part in the Northern B.C. Arts Festival. The festival is a collaboration between Smithers Secondary School and local art project Into the Current.

Young artists of all stripes are showing off their skills in a variety of media after getting some tips from artists rounded up from as far away as New York by coordinators Heather Lytle from Smithers Secondary School and Miriam Colvin from the Bulkley Valley Arts Council.

“I wanted all of our kids in Smithers to have access to the kinds of workshops and festivals that I would often take kids to when I go down to the Okanagan or Vancouver,” said Lytle, who teaches Drama.

“Every time we go there are people we have to leave behind, and I think it’s such a shame — for the kids in the Lower Mainland there’s so much access to this stuff.

“I think why not do that in Smithers; why not bring the people here so that all of our kids here can have access to it?”

Workshops and keynote addresses are happening Thursday and Friday, based out of Northwest Community College.

Saturday is when high school students from any school that want to join get to show off what they learned. Everyone is invited to see performances and art in action as the teens spread out to the Della Herman Theatre, Central Park and Main Street.

“We are going to have different artists get together, and artists from different fields. So we might have an artist who is a dancer collaborate with someone say who is a jazz musician,” explained Lytle.

“They would have a spot somewhere downtown Smithers. Then the students who are participating, they can choose any of the artists they want to join.”

Everything wraps up Saturday with a parade between all the sites. It starts at Husky Park at 3 p.m.

“People will be able to watch while it’s happening, and they will be able to join in the parade and follow us from site to site,” said Lytle.