New West's arts community forges on in the face of COVID-19

Here are a few of the events you can take part in while still safely self-isolating in the city

Just when it seems that COVID-19 has brought the world of arts and entertainment grinding to a halt, there’s hope.

Though galleries, theatres and live music venues are all closed, for now, that doesn’t mean that the local arts scene has gone totally dark.

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New Westminster’s arts community still has a number of offerings for folks in the city who are doing their part to self-isolate. Here are just a few of the possibilities:



Yes, the Gallery at Queen’s Park is closed, and upcoming New West Craft and ArtsToGo sessions have been cancelled, as has Last Mondays at the Movies for March.

Other April events are currently being evaluated, and an announcement is expected this week.

Meanwhile, there are still some activities you can take part in from home.

Listen to the ArtsNW Podcast:

Want to get up close and personal with some artists from New Westminster? You can listen to five episodes of this podcast online via  Each episode features a different artist from the city, so you can meet composer John Oliver, actor Colleen Winton, sound artist Alanna Ho, Indian classical musicians Cassius Khan and Amika Kushwaha, and visual artist Fiona Tang.

Prepare your submissions for upcoming shows:

The Arts Council of New Westminster has open calls for submissions for a number of different endeavours. Artisans are being sought for the New West Craft summer market season; artists are wanted for Artists by the River (submit by June 1); and musicians are wanted for the summer music programs (submit by April 3).

There’s also still a call out for submissions for the Festival of Loss and Healing – the arts council and the New West Hospice Society are seeking photographic art on the theme of grief, loss and healing. Submissions are open until March 31.

Artists in the LGBTQ+ community are also invited to enter work for The Art of Pride – you must submit by July 2020.




The Royal City Literary Arts Society has also cancelled and/or postponed events, including an upcoming In Their Words reading night, a haiku workshop and Poetic Justice reading sessions.

But the literarily inclined are reminded that submissions are still open for the society’s annual Write On! contest. You can enter your best poetry, fiction or non-fiction and potentially win yourself cash prizes. Find all the details at



The choir was set to celebrate 40 years of music-making in New Westminster and beyond with a concert this May, but the season has now been called off. But save the date – the choir plans to hold its anniversary concert on Oct. 17 instead.

Amabilis alumni who are interested in taking part are invited to email

See for all the details.


chalk art, Glenbrook Ravine
Community members are out creating chalk art cheer at Glenbrook Ravine, among other locations in the city. - Julie MacLellan


Artists and community members alike are joining in an effort to bring colour to the streets and trails of the city, so that those who are out getting fresh air (and maintaining their social distancing rules) can enjoy a splash of colour.

Chalk art has been a favourite pastime for people of all ages.

Glenbrook Ravine and Victoria Hill are two of the locations we’ve heard of. Are you aware of particular locations in the city that have been rising to the artistic occasion? Email reporter Julie MacLellan, or tweet her @juliemaclellan. Send photos if you can!




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