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Creativity, community (and puppets) take centre stage at this year’s Richmond Children’s Art Festival

Celebrate B.C. Family Day during the 15th annual Children’s Arts Festival, happening February 19th, at the Richmond Public Library and Richmond Cultural Centre.
B.C. Family Day at the 15th Richmond Children’s Arts Festival will be a day of live music, crafts, dance, and theatre for all ages. Photo via City of Richmond

Calling all creative kids!

Family Day is coming up and while most B.C. families are looking forward to a little downtime, the City of Richmond  offers a one-of-a-kind event that will energize families to be creative, and have fun.

Happening Monday, Feb. 19 at the Richmond Public Library and Cultural Centre, celebrate B.C. Family Day at the 15th annual Richmond Children’s Arts Festival featuring live music, hands-on crafts, dazzling dance performances, and inspiring theatre designed to spark the imaginations of kids of all ages.

Taking place in the newly opened Richmond Cultural Centre Annex, the festival will showcase 15 performances from various art forms such as dance, percussion, and theatre, as well as nine unique imagination drop-in arts stations. Families can try their hands at a range of creative activities, including weaving, lantern-making, printmaking, stop motion, animation and much more. For children and youth interested in expanding their creative horizons even further, the festival also offers 35 registered creativity classes ranging from Far East Folk Music and Movement Workshops to Creative Dancing for Parents and Tots.

Aimed to be more than a “day off” for parents, this Family Day event is perfect for families looking to have fun and enjoy, while learning new ways to express themselves at the same time.  “Creativity has been the foundation of the festival since its inception,” says City of Richmond Program Manager for Community Cultural Development, Camyar Chaichian. “When children are engaged in creative experiences, improvement is seen in other areas of their lives, including emotional, social, cognitive, and motor development. For this reason, our festival encourages participation for visitors and guests.”

Just a hop, skip and jump across the main event grounds at the neighbouring Gateway Theatre, a featured stage presentation entitled “Division Infinity Saves the World!” is showing on the day of the festival, highlighting the importance of creativity through children’s eyes.

New World Theatre's Division Infinity Saves the World is a creative extravaganza where top-secret elementary students tackle global issues. Photo via New World Theatre

Produced by the New World Theatre, Division Infinity Saves the World is a creative extravaganza about a class of top-secret elementary school students coming together to solve the biggest problems facing kids worldwide. The live stage performance meets puppet show features stories and art inspired by real Grade Four students reflecting on their pandemic experiences.

“We were interested in exploring what it was like living through a global pandemic from a child’s perspective,” says artist and Division Infinity Saves the World co-creator Keely O’Brien. Written by Keely O'Brien alongside local artists and performers Matt Clarke and Shizuka Kai, Division Infinity is hilarious and empowering for kids and adults alike, serving as an important reminder of the power of creativity in anxious times.

“I was surprised and touched by how resilient and enthusiastic the kids we worked with are,” says O’Brien. “Although the pandemic had dramatically affected their lives, they had all found ways to handle it. As an artist and an educator, I strongly feel that creativity is an important tool to help us understand, learn from, and share our challenging experiences.”

Keely O’Brien will also be hosting a drop-in mixed-media arts workshop highlighting Richmond’s diverse heritage, which remains another key component of the festival.  “The arts have always been an arena to demonstrate the beauty and strength that diversity brings to a community,” says Chaichian. “Black History Month and Lunar New Year happen during the same period as the festival. We have artists and activities honouring those events and celebrate our community."

So, if you want Family Day to be about more than a day off from work, be sure to visit the fun Family Day events taking place at this year’s Richmond Children’s Arts Festival Presented by Lansdowne Centre, where creativity and community will be on full display.

To learn more, visit