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This was 2023: Top 10 Richmond art stories of the year

What was your favourite art story of the year?
Looking back at some of the most memorable art stories in Richmond in 2023.

​​ ​The year 2023 has been an eventful year for Richmond's arts community with art competitions, book publications and even actors and writers going through a union strike. There were many notable stories in the art sector, but here are some of the top stories in no particular order:

1. Chorus wins international competition

Lions Gate Chorus is the champion of the 75th Sweet Adelines International Convention & Competition. Photo submitted

The Lions Gate Chorus, an acapella chorus with 100 members from around Metro Vancouver, won its first international gold medal for the first time in seven decades. They were crowned the champion at the 75th annual Sweet Adelines International Convention and Competition held in Louisville, Kentucky.

2. 'Silent reconciliation' explored in VAFF film

Meng Li at the 27th annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival where the screening of her film "Water Roots" took place. Meng Li photo

Richmond director and resident Meng Li's film "Water Roots" explores the idea of silent reconciliation in this year's Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF). Silent reconcilation, is when Asian families come to a shared understanding after a disagreement without any verbal affirmation. Li's film touches on themes of shared grief, beliefs and communication.

3. Double gold for hip hop youth

Drako Cheng, 11, was crowned the world champion for hip hop and popping solo boys children categories at the recent IDO World Hip Hop Championship held in Poland. Instagram video screenshot, idoworlddance

Eleven-year-old Drako Cheng was crowned champion for the popping and hip hop boys children categories at the IDO World Hip Hop Championship in Kielce, Poland. Cheng represented Canada among dancers from 31 countries in the international competition.

4. More arts facilities needed in Richmond

Richmond Cultural Centre. Richmond News photo

The City of Richmond plans to spend $75,000 to assess what arts facilities are needed in the city. The cost of the assessment is being proposed as part of the 2024 budget process. Several art organizations including the Richmond Arts Coalition, Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra and Richmond Community Concert Band have voiced a need for more art-based facilities.

5. YVR firetruck wrapped in Indigenous art

Coast Salish artist Summer Cannell made the design for ‘Red 5’ depicting the legendary thunderbird.

Musqueam artist Summer Cannell, 17, designed a Coast Salish Indigenous art piece that now adorns the newest fire truck at Vancouver International Airport. The artwork features a thunderbird, which is a symbol of the protector and giver of life who brings water, "the source of all life," explained Cannell.

6 Richmond-based literary prize bridges Punjabi geographical divide

Barj Dhahan founded the Dhahan Prize. Dhahan Prize photo

A Richmond-based international book prize for Punjabi literature had authors vying for awards totalling $45,000. The Dhahan Prize, founded by Richmond businessman Barj Dhahn, recognizes literature written in two Punjabi scripts.

7. Youth take over Richmond Olympic Oval for painting competition

Youth World Cup Live Painting Competition at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Canadian Youth Policy Association Management photo

The Richmond Olympic Oval saw around 1,000 youth taking part in the Youth World Cup Live Painting Competition in the summer. The competition was held as a fundraiser to raise money and to donate "tent schools" as part of UNICEF's global welfare project 

8. Relief for writers and actors as union strike ends

Richmond resident and actor Osric Chau speaks on the effects of Canadian film and TV workers during the double U.S. labour strikes. Osric Chau photo

Writers and actors who are part of two American unions breathed a sigh of relief after being on strike for seven months. The The Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) unions were fighting for fair wages and against the rising and unregulated use of artificial intelligence that could have cut out writers and actors from the industry.

9. Filmmakers face off on national TV contest

Grandma Lee’s Dress director Janalee Budge, centre, with writer/actor Ana Pacheco, left, and producer Bryce Iwaschuk, at the Huntington Beach Cultural Film Festival in California, where the short won Best International Film. Photo submitted

A 10-minute short film titled Grandma Lee's Dress by McNair alumnus Bryce Iwaschuk and McMath alumnus Ana Pacheco was selected for the 16th Season of CBC Gem's Short Film Face Off TV series. Their film, based on Pacheco's family history, was one of nine films to be shown on national TV.

10. From pregnancy compilation to children's book

Richmond residents Michelle Lui and Avery. Photo submitted by Michelle Lui.

Richmond mother Michelle Lui turned her pregnancy complication journey into a children's book to raise awareness of what intrauterine growth restriction, a medical condition during pregnancy, is. The book "Me! My IUGR Story" is written in the perspective of the baby.

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