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In the arts we are used to witnessing music, theatre, dance, paintings and even poetry moving from the margins to the mainstream. That is the artistic journey we expect and generally support. For people, however, we don’t expect nor do we naturally support the same journey. Instead this work is left to the many community programs run by organization whose work it is to bring the marginalized, underrepresented or vulnerable people into our main spaces. We know that when people can be part of our main spaces, they can better access what they need for a good, healthy and productive life. Every day, I am privileged to see the great work of these types of programs and organizations. I do consulting work as an independent, community program evaluator so I get deeply involved with helping foster program success and sustainability.

This year my little consulting business decided to become a sponsor of a local festival called Westfest held every year in early June. While my business hardly generates enough revenue to be a corporate sponsor, I feel that it is something important for me to do because of what I do and most importantly because of what I believe in.

Westfest is celebrating its 15th year in existence, an amazing accomplishment considering the financial resources given to this effort. What I love about this festival is that not only does Elaina Martin, the festival’s extremely committed and hard-working producer, pull music from the margins to the mainstream but she does it for people too. If you get to know the festival, you might note that from those providing food services, to some volunteers and supporters, to the bike tune ups done on site, to the spaces used for pre- and post- events, Westfest has invited the contributions from many who might not typically be offered this invitation. While intentional on Elaina’s part, it is simply part of the natural flow of the event rather than as a stand alone effort.  Elaina recognizes that working from a place of contribution makes us all happier, healthier and thriving contributors to community life and this is reflected in her festival.

A community organizer, leader and author I deeply appreciate named Al Etmanski,  says “extraordinary acts are not reserved for the special few and everyone’s actions are necessary to transform our world. The vast majority of people want to make the world a better place. Magnificence occurs when we sprinkle our work with beauty and love.”

Westfest is a work of beauty and love that I am choosing to support. What about you?

Westfest sponsorship http://www.westfest.ca/sponsors

Westfest donor http://www.westfest.ca/donors

For more information about Westfest visit: http://www.westfest.ca/

Or the Westfest Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/westfestinfo/