Author Jane Byers has been appointed Nelson’s 2022 Cultural Ambassador.
The honour is bestowed by the Cultural Development Committee, on behalf of the City of Nelson, and comes with a $1,000 honorarium.
“We are thrilled to formally acknowledge Jane’s accomplishments, both as a writer and valued contributor to our community,” says committee chair Sydney Black. “Recognized nationally by peers and readers for her high-calibre work, it’s extremely fitting to welcome her as Nelson’s 2022 Cultural Ambassador.”
Byers has published two poetry collections, Steeling Effects and Acquired Community, and a memoir, Small Courage, all with Caitlin Press. Numerous poems, essays and excerpts in these books have been featured in magazines, journals and anthologies such as Best Canadian Poetry, Grain, Descent, Antigonish Review, Rattle and many more. Acquired Community won the Golden Crown Literary Award for Poetry in the U.S. In all of her essays, poems and prose Byers brings a feminist, LGBTQ, and transracial adoptive family lens, always seeking to build empathy.
In 2022, Byers will be launching her new book, Work to Live (funded by a major project grant from CKCA) which examines the role of work and employment through the lens of her professional career as an ergonomist. Through this book, she’ll be inviting readers into often unseen rural work settings, simultaneously connecting labourers and tradespeople to the arts community.
Additionally, Byers will be an anchor artist in the Nelson and District Art Council’s current collaborative art project Outside the Box (funded by Heritage Canada), partnering with Nelson dancer MJ Campbell and Siji Olunuga, a pianist and student in the Selkirk College Music program. This performance will be filmed and available for viewing January 2022.
“I know our artists iridesce well beyond our city lights,” says Byers, “which is not a surprise given the beauty and richness of the place in which we create. I want to help illuminate our cultural sector.”
The Cultural Ambassador honour recognizes of local individual artists, groups or collectives who have achieved a high standard of excellence in their artistic discipline and who are active not only in Nelson’s cultural community but extend their talents to other communities and countries.
The Cultural Ambassador is expected to represent and promote the City of Nelson on their travels, increasing the visibility and cultural reputation of Nelson.
Previous Cultural Ambassadors include author Roz Nay, artist/performer Marilyn Hatfield, singer/performer Allison Girvan, dancer Slava Doval, writer Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, visual artist Ian Johnston, musician Bessie Wapp, filmmaker Amy Bohigian, actor Lucas Myers, dancer Hiromoto Ida, author Anne DeGrace, fibre artist Angelika Werth, and the Corazón Youth Choir.