The arts are for everyone…

From our popular Art in the Park festival on Canada Day to our Galleries & Exhibitions featuring local artists in all mediums, the Kamloops Arts Council’s year-round low- and no-cost arts programs provide opportunities for local visual and performing artists while making the arts accessible to all.

Crossing Bridges

Crossing Bridges is an outreach program started by the Kamloops Arts Council in 2013.

This interactive multidisciplinary collaboration among the arts community and social service agencies delivers high-quality arts workshops at no cost to children, youth, families and adults in the Kamloops area.


We believe the arts are for everyone, and that they have the power to heal, transform, connect, and develop skills in children, youth, adults, and seniors, including those in crisis. Art changes lives. 

What is Crossing Bridges? 

Crossing Bridges is an outreach program started by the Kamloops Arts Council in 2013. It delivers high-quality arts workshops at no cost through partnerships with social service agencies in the Kamloops area. Crossing Bridges provides at-risk children, youth, families, adults and seniors with the chance to explore their creativity and build their self-confidence in a supportive environment. 

How does it work? 

 Artists work alongside staff at local social service agencies to deliver visual arts workshops in a variety of mediums – including painting, photo-transfer, drawing, collage, mirror-etching, woodworking, fibre art and even painting of skateboard decks. Workshops may vary widely in topic, dependent on the needs, ages, and situations of participants at each centre. 

The project culminates in an annual gallery exhibition that strives to unite all members of the community and celebrate health and wellness through art.

What are the benefits? 

Benefits to participants & the community:

Crossing Bridges helps participants express realities, fears, hopes, and dreams, providing them with the chance to connect with others, build self-esteem and share their voice with the community.

Further, the arts workshops keep individuals returning to the agencies that can link them up to help when they need it.

The arts have been proven to help ease stress during crisis and build life skills, including self-esteem, self-expression, resiliency, improved mental and emotional health. This program continues to increase connections and has even been a means of income (two participants from the Women’s Shelter have launched businesses to sell their artwork). We have seen first-hand evidence of the need and success of our program.

Benefits to the arts community: 

Crossing Bridges employs local artists in a meaningful way, allowing them to share their significant skills while inspiring participants. Numerous participants have gone on to become active members of the Kamloops Arts Council, participating in member exhibitions and activities throughout the year. 

How is Crossing Bridges funded? 

Crossing Bridges began with initial funding from the Province of BC ~ BC Creative Communities. Please see below for information about our past and current supporters.

We are actively seeking donations to continue the project this year.

Regarding this program, please contact Lorel Sternig, Outreach Coordinator or fill out forms below.

Email: [email protected]

Our Sponsors

Stories & Testimonials 

Crossing Bridges...

Crossing Bridges recently provided a workshop series to the students of Twin Rivers Education Centre and Four Directions Storefront Schools, where the students were led on an exploration of identity through art. The Crossing Bridges instructor first led students on an exploration of themes and motifs that were meaningful to them. The students then made stencils from these images and learned how to airbrush their images onto lazer-cut wooden feathers (to be mounted on the school fence in celebration of each student’s unique identity and contribution). The teacher of Twin Rivers Education Centre noted that the “most exciting part of this project has been the energy in the room when everyone is working away, the airbrush is up and running, and the students are supporting each other with ideas and tricks and tools. [Our Crossing Bridges instructor] circulates the room teasing out incredible things from what seems like the most basic idea, and the kids are proud of what they are creating.”

From the teacher of Twin Rivers Education Centre ...

“Many of our students have faced significant life challenges that have had a detrimental effect on their education. In many cases their families were part of the Residential School system and have experienced trauma resulting in limited exposure to healthy relationships. Poverty, trauma, and substance abuse continue to be barriers to personal well-being, a healthy understanding of self, personal pride and academic success. Art is a powerful outlet for expressing one’s identity and stretching out of comfort zones. For many of our students it is a particular area of strength and personal pride. Exposure to [our Crossing Bridges Instructor] as a professional artist is very exciting! His approachable demeanour and ability to engage with even reluctant or shy students has made a significant impact. Giving them access and instruction to tools that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to work with is empowering and has fostered a leadership role for a number of students who work closely with [our Crossing Bridges instructor]. Overall they have been able to create a final product that they are very happy with.”

From the Crossing Bridges instructor at Osprey Place ...

From the Crossing Bridges instructor at Osprey Place, a centre that provides substance use treatment for young men and women who are involved in the Youth Justice system in BC: “When one youth began the program, his self esteem was very low. He was convinced that he would ruin everything he touched. He was full of self doubt and really didn’t want to participate because he was so afraid of messing up. Well, he has certainly pushed passed that now. He became very excited about glass etching and every time he finishes a piece I see how proud he is. Those negative beliefs don’t seem to come up in our class anymore and he keeps asking to do more projects with enthusiasm. He recently exclaimed ‘I never liked art…until now.’”

From the director of Osprey Place ...

From the director of Osprey Place, a centre that provides substance use treatment for young men and women who are involved in the Youth Justice system in BC: “The [Crossing Bridges] instructor has great empathy for our young women and has shown them much over the past few weeks. She engages them fully into the projects and offers much of herself in respectful and helpful conversation. The young people have appreciated each session and look forward to it. They produce beautiful items and feel proud of what they do. From one of our youth participants in the Osprey Place substance use treatment program: “I love love love our new art program! The creative expertise is so inspiring and helps get our creativity flowing!”

Crossing Bridges Participants

“Art has saved my life. I have been in and out the shelter through my life but something has happened this time to make it different. I believe it is the art. It made me stop and look at things differently. This time I’m going out on my own and finally I’m getting my muchness back. I’m putting all the art up in my new home and I’m going to continue doing art that way I will keep getting stronger.”

Crossing Bridges Participant

Participants at the YWCA Women’s Shelter were led in a project that had them hollow out old books, giving them a secret compartment in which to store things. One of the children worked through huge feelings of moving out of the house and said, “This is like building our new safe place where we can belong, and we can take this to our new home to remind us of being here.”

Crossing Bridges Participant

A client of Phoenix Centre revealed herself to be a former professional artist, stating that the Crossing Bridges workshops had reignited her passion for creating art. “I stopped making art,” she stated. “That’s how I got lost. I have it back now.”

Artwork by Participants

Rivertown Players

Historically each summer, the Kamloops Arts Council’s Rivertown Players present accessible, free family-friendly theatre performances at parks and events throughout Kamloops. Performing live 5 days a week, these interactive shows, songs and stories delight both the young and the young-at-heart!

Make sure to check their Facebook page here for more information and to stay up to date!

Who participates?

Audiences are made up of locals, tourists, daycares and summer camps. Some children enjoy the plays so much that they attend daily!


What are the benefits?

The Rivertown Players program fosters the talent of the next generation of theatre artists – while providing entertainment and inspiration for children and families and building the next generation of audiences. Students in our program have gone on to secure paid positions with professional theatre companies. The Rivertown Players improve the quality of life in Kamloops, creating a vibrant community for locals and visitors alike.

How does it work?

Each May, the KAC hires post-secondary theatre students through the Canada Summer Jobs program. Under the mentorship of a local theatre professional, the students then create full-scale productions from scratch. From scripts and sets to costumes and direction, the students learn what it takes to mount a series of plays in a short amount of time.

Beginning with the first performance at Art in the Park on Canada Day, the Rivertown Players then take to the stage at a park near you. Audiences are kept up on their performance schedules via website and social media. The Rivertown Players have performed at Sun Peaks, Overlander Days, and other events, and at parks downtown, on the North Shore, at Aberdeen, Westsyde and more.

2021 Sponsors of the Rivertown Players:

Interested in sponsoring The Rivertown Players?

Please contact Tanya Nielsen, KAC executive director at 250.372.7323 or at [email protected]

Grants & Scholarships

The Kamloops Arts Council is all about supporting the arts community.

With that in mind, we offer grants and scholarships to local artists, arts groups and arts students. Funds are subject to availability.

The Grant Intake Period for 2022

The next grant intake for 2022 will close on May 31st, 2022. 

If you have questions or are having challenges filling out the applications for grants or scholarships, or if you prefer to apply verbally, please contact our Executive Director, Tanya Nielsen. 

Kamloops Arts Council Grant

Due May 31 annually.

The Kamloops Arts Council is devoted to the development and enhancement of the arts in the Kamloops area. We support all artists and art organizations and promote cooperation among them, government and business. The Kamloops Arts Council works to advocate the arts in all their forms and to inform and provide support for arts organizations and individual artists, including professional and emerging artists.

Click here for the KAC Grant  Application Form

Julia Appley-Mitra Scholarship

Due May 31 annually.

Up to two scholarships of $500 each may be awarded to graduating area high school students (grade 12) going on to post-secondary studies in the arts.

Click here for the Julia Appley-Mitra Scholarship Application Form

2021 scholarship recipients:

  • Xavier Marican – (Music)
  • Maeve Calhoun – (University of Victoria)

2020 scholarship recipients:

  • Shael O’Brien – (Thompson Rivers University)
  • Avery Stainton – (Emily Carr University)

2019 scholarship recipients:

  • Cara Nicol – (University of Toronto)
  • Aden Jameel Aziz – (Vancouver Film School)

2018 scholarship recipients:

  • Sophia Doolan (visual arts)
  • Christina Allen (visual arts)

2017 scholarship recipients:

  • Kathleen Pilatzke (visual arts, University of Lethbridge)
  • Lukas Vanderlip (theatre, Thompson Rivers University)

Kristina Benson Art Scholarship

Due May 31 annually.

The Kristina Benson Art Scholarship was created to honour emerging artists pursuing post-secondary education in the visual arts and design fields. The scholarship will be awarded to a current or prospective student demonstrating eagerness, determination to succeed in their field and a passion to intuitively create! 1 (one) scholarship of $250 may be awarded each year.

Click here to apply for the Kristina Benson Art Scholarship

2021 scholarship recipient:

Lucy Faraone (Bachelor of Fine Arts at TRU)

2019 scholarship recipient:

Catherine Archibald (Bachelor of Fine Arts at TRU)

2018 scholarship recipient:

Sophia Doolan (visual arts)

Stories & Testimonials

“This opened my eyes to a whole new world of artistic possibilities. I studied concepts of drawing and have purchased several books to support my continued study in this area.”
Elaine Burns, “Drawing the Landscape”

“Thank you for your supportive vision in awarding me $400.00 toward my Professional Development. As an Artist devoted to my practice I had sought to broaden my personal investigations of clay and further explore the historic artistic legacy of the Anasazi. All of my hopes, dreams, and expectations of being able to gather new skills and information to be put toward transformative self empowering creations and community artistic use, was not only met, but surpassed…the uniquely passionate delivery of skilled instructions by authentic pottery replicator Cherylene Caver, was infectious, as she shared her personal insights into the fascinating mysteries of the Ancestral Puebloan peoples and culture…what a gift!!” 
—Leslie Bolin, sculptor

“The Kamloops Arts Council’s generous grant will go a long way to help me attend and offset the costs of the Sarah Pike workshop in Medicine Hat. I look forward to learning some great techniques and can hardly wait to share them with the arts community…thank you for this great opportunity.”
—Karen Clark, potter

“We are very grateful for this injection of funding as it allows us to start doing some recording, filming, and creating. It also gives us the confidence to move forward with other grant applications, so thank you for the opportunity to apply for this local grant…Thank You!”
—Christina Zaenker, “Crossbow”

“Thank you for helping to realize the goals of local artists like ourselves. It is enormously helpful… your grant of $500 allowed us to make the foundational recordings for our coming EP.”
—Neil Burnett & Christina Zaenker, “Crossbow”

“Thank you so much! We are so eager to continue developing this piece and the support of the KAC is immensely appreciated.”
—Randi Edmundson, “The Dorothy Project”
(A play about a family’s experience with dementia, developed in consultation with the Alzheimer’s Society of BC)

“The Online Masterclass was fantastic. The information was helpful from a practical standpoint and creatively fulfilling as well. I made a number of notes related to the Kamloops Film Festival that should have a positive impact on the future.”
—Dušan Magdolen, Kamloops Film Society

Recent KAC Grant Recipients:

  • Wendy Wessen – $700 towards materials to produce “as wise as nature’s wings”
  • Ashya Cross – $350 towards Emily Carr Professional Development
  • Carly Schmidt – $700 towards supply purchase for programming during COVID isolation
  • Mike Kehler – $700 towards the purchase of Glowforge Machine
  • Mike Alexander – $700 for Offset Supply Expenses
  • Mike Weddell – $700 towards producing “CONNECTIONS: The Art of Storytelling”
  • Mike Alexander – $500 for Offset Expenses
  • Barb Klie – $225 for Foundations Workshop
  • Linda Scarfo – $225 for Foundations Workshop
  • Cjay Boisclair $1000 for offset expenses
  • Emily Dundas Oke – $400 for International Residency in Lithuania
  • Gail Clark – $200 for the Encaustic Burn Exploration workshop
  • Wyatt Purcha – $400 for TRU Actor’s Workshop Theatre, Conflicte
  • Patricia House – $500 for Federation of Canadian Artists 2018 Plein Air Retreat
  • Juli Harland – $500 for attendance at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, October 2018
  • Kamloops Society for the Written Arts – $750 for KWSA Speakers Series
  • Daniel Ondang – $500 for production of Agneéis & Mallaidh’s Radioactive Journey
  • Eileen Funk – $125 for art workshop with Debbie Milner-Lively
  • Melissa Thomas – $500 for training with Academy Duello
  • Leah Bojey – $225 for Mastering Acrylics workshop with David Langevin
  • Randi Edmundson – $500 for the Dorothy Project
  • Leslie Bolin – $400 for ancestral Puebloan pottery replication workshop
  • Karen Clark – $400 for pottery workshop at Medalta
  • Shirley Ellen Dodding – $290 for attendance at Word on the Lake writers’ festival
  • Karen Rubkiewicz – $400 for plein air workshop with James Middleton
  • Linda Scarfo – $250 for painting workshop with Michael O’Toole
  • Wendy Weseen – $400 for poetry workshop with Jan Zwicky
  • Chimera Theatre – $500 for Hydra Theatre Festival
  • Crossbow – $500 for first EP project
  • Madison Olds – $1000 for Bees & the Bare Bones – Development
  • Ana Bayona – $1000 for Dream House at TRU
  • Bailey Finley – $1000 towards the Kamloops Music Collective’s Festival 2021

Contact Us Today!

Visit Us

7 Seymour Street West (at 1st)
Kamloops, BC V2C 1E4


Tuesday to Saturday,

10am - 12pm & 1 - 4pm

The Kamloops Arts Council office and KAC Main Gallery are located in the city-owned Old Courthouse Cultural Centre at 7 Seymour Street West. We share this wonderful century-old building with the Courthouse Gallery Cooperative and Theatre BC (Mainstage).

Visit us, our gallery and the rest of the amazing arts groups that are housed under one roof!

Please note: Kamloops Arts Council does not handle bookings for rentals of the Old Courthouse.  For information on rentals, please contact City of Kamloops Arts, Facility Booking, at [email protected] or (250) 828-3707.

KAC is situated on the traditional and unceded lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc within the ne Secwepemcúl’ecw

We acknowledge the financial support of our Core Supporters: The City of Kamloops and BC Arts Council