Cultural history

Building a cultural legacy    

Cultural development began in the early 1970’s, when a committee formed to study the possibilities of developing a “Cultural Arts Centre” in Kelowna. In 1989, Kelowna established the Mayor’s Task Force to create cultural policy. This policy gives form, support and provides direction for the cultural development in the City. Since then, significant progress has been made to integrate arts and culture into overall community planning and the delivery of services to residents and visitors.

This vision became a reality with the development of Kelowna’s Cultural District, which has become the hub of Kelowna’s artistic and cultural activity. The Cultural District was developed in what was once the centre of Okanagan's historical fruit packing Industry.  This success was made possible through the dedication of the arts community, municipal leadership and support, strong community planning and major investment.

Continuing success

We operate the Kelowna Community Theatre which has provided a venue for performances for more than 50 years.

Funding mechanisms created include support for institutions such as the four Kelowna Museums (Okanagan Heritage Museum, BC Orchard Industry Museum, BC Wine Industry Museum, and Okanagan Military Museum), Kelowna Art Gallery and Rotary Centre for the Arts. The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Kelowna, and the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art are supported through the professional arts grant funding. Funding is also provided to amateur arts groups through Arts, Culture and Heritage Operating Grants. In addition, the Community Festivals, Events and Project Grants and Community Public Art Grants continue to expand accessibility to arts, culture and heritage for all Kelowna residents.