Amanda Shatzko has a new reason to float through the air in celebration of art.
The Vernon-raised arts advocate and aerial artist, who paints live while performing stunts harnessed in the air, has been announced as the winner of the B.C. Culture Days ambassador and awards program.
She will represent Culture Days and B.C. artists at the National Congress on Culture this week at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre.
“Someone sent a call out in The Georgia Strait then online calling for a B.C. cultural ambassador, and I decided to apply,” said Shatzko. “What was interesting to me is hearing what MLA Coralee Oakes (for Cariboo North), who is also the cabinet minister responsible for arts and culture and sport, had to say. I thought aerial art would be a cool thing because it fits into sports and culture development.”
In addition to the trip to Edmonton, Shatzko will receive $2,500 towards her Culture Days event, in which she will be presenting a live aerial painting demonstration and inviting discussion and participation from community members.
“My main responsibility is to represent B.C. at the National Congress on Culture in Edmonton… I’ll be networking and speaking with other presenters on what they’re doing in their communities and I can tell them what I’m doing in my community of Vernon and in B.C.,” said Shatzko.
As the 2015 B.C. Culture Days ambassador, Shatzko will engage communities around the province to present and participate in Culture Days activities and will also act as spokesperson leading up to the Culture Days weekend, taking place Sept. 25 to 27.
“People are familiar with Culture Days, but may not be as familiar as they could be. We have tons of talented artists – visual, performers, musicians – and a lot of people don’t know what venues they can approach,” said Shatzko. “I’m going to try and bridge a lot of artists and presenters to bring everyone together on what they can do and use social media to let people know what’s going on for B.C. Culture Days.”
A graduate of Vernon Secondary School’s high performance program, Shatzko represented Canada competing internationally for seven years as a rhythmic gymnast, coached by local Olympian Camille Martens. She later pursued a career in the arts, studying at Emily Carr University in Vancouver.
Since graduating, she has painted numerous sports celebrities and was commissioned by the Canadian government and the Whistler arts council to paint athletes live at the Vancouver and Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.
She has also exhibited in the permanent collection of the Mayfair Boutique Hotels and with international gallery ContainerArt, which was seen by 800,000 people during a three-week run.
Last year, her work was exhibited on a 25-storey billboard at Times Square in New York City.
Shatzko now spends part of her time in Vernon, where she works on programs at the Vernon Public Art Gallery and serves as vice-president of the Arts Council of the North Okanagan.
She also recently spoke on a youth engagement panel at the 2015 ArtsBC Conference and was a judge at the Vernon school district scholarship showcase and competition Thursday.
She is also about to unveil a mural she painted at her alma mater, VSS.
When not at home, Shatzko can be found travelling the world, where she has performed her aerial act on stage, for film and television, at corporate events and ceremonies and on behalf of multiple charities.
“My first act was three years ago at B.C. Place in Vancouver. The rest of the time it is a paid act through corporate events,” said Shatzko, adding she is currently looking for a venue in Vernon to perform for locals during Culture Days.
In addition to Shatzko’s appointment as B.C. Culture Days ambassador, 10 local ambassadors will be selected from across the province and awarded $1,000 towards their Culture Days event. The deadline to apply for this opportunity has been extended to May 15.
For information on eligibility and guidelines for becoming a local B.C. Culture Days ambassador, visit BC.CultureDays.ca or contact Nazanin Shoja, B.C. Culture Days coordinator at email@example.com.