There’s a reason why Kelowna’s Cultural District has been named the “Best in Canada” by the Canadian Heritage Cultural Spaces Program. A 6-block area of the downtown that is jammed with museums, galleries, artist studios, performance venues, public art displays and colourful performers of all disciplines, this area seems to vibrate with creativity. If you love theatre, live music, multi-cultural events and festivals, you will feel at home in this culturally abundant city.
In the fall of 2002, the Rotary Centre for the Arts opened in downtown Kelowna – a facility that has become the focal point of Kelowna’s developing Cultural District (modeled after the Granville Island concept in Vancouver), providing a place for artists, musicians, dancers and actors to gather, practice and to perform.
There is a wide variety of galleries in Kelowna, from the Kelowna Art Gallery to unique privately-operated venues like Turtle Island Gallery, the Art Ark and the Alternator Gallery, all located downtown in the Cultural District. From history buffs, the Wine and Orchard Museums, the newly renovated Kelowna Museum and the Okanagan Military Museum are sure to please.
The Roger D. Arndt Studio Gallery is situated in the midst of apple and cherry orchards, perched above the city in a beautifully restored and expanded historic family farm home. Known as “The Painter of the Canadian West,” visitors will often see Arndt at work since his studio is set within the gallery.
You may also catch a glimpse of another local artist at work at the Geert Maas Sculpture Garden. His works are displayed year-round in an outdoor display garden that surrounds his home and studio.
Several major festivals take place in Kelowna each year, including Bluesfest, the Comedy Festival; the International Dragon Boat Festival; and Life and Arts Festival, featuring a multi-disciplinary array of events.
The Okanagan Wine festivals have become extremely popular with residents and visitors alike. The Spring Wine Festival takes place the first week in May and the largest, the nine-day Fall Wine Festival, is held in early October, attracting visitors from around the world who come to participate in Winemaker dinners, vintage wine tasting and champagne brunches.