2012 Rotary Citizen of the Year Chris Evans has a very simple motto when it comes to his work in the community.
“I just really believe that our communities are what we make of them,” Evans explained. “I was very surprised and very grateful (to win), but I’m very conscious of the fact that the reality is this (award) is about a whole group of people.”
Evans, who has served as the Columbia Valley Arts Council president for the past six years, said he didn’t even know that he had been nominated. Evans first got involved when the former arts council president invited him to and, since then, has been involved in a whole gamut of projects on behalf of CV Arts, from helping raise money to renovate Pynelogs several years ago to helping organize the multitude of concerts, art shows and film series that have graced Pynelogs since.
“It started with the people, and my good wife,” Evans said. “I really respect the cross section of people that are here, whether it’s old-timers or new folks in the valley who have come here and made it their own and have given a lot of themselves.”
Over his years as CV Arts president, Evans says he’s learned a lot about how to drive people and projects forward. He feels that when it comes to work within the community, it’s best to let people do what interests them, and feels it’s important not to get bogged down by micromanaging.
“The challenge is with the nature of the job, you can spend as much time, or as little,” Evans said. “What I’ve learned is that if people show an interest, let them do what they want to do… if people have a passion, let them run with it.”
Evans said he was saddened by the cancellations of the school-based art shows at Pynelogs this year, as one of his favourite things is to see the children come in and browse the art gallery. He feels it’s important that the arts council continues to facilitate art and culture in the valley in the coming years and, as such, invites anyone interested to volunteer with CV Arts, as he’s always looking for fresh ideas.
“I believe we are defined by the arts and culture that we support in the valley,” said Evans. “I’m very honoured that I would be recognized.”