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Raspberry Magazine and Red Press Society bring arts community together

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On Saturday, June 9, Raspberry Magazine, the Fraser Valley’s arts and culture magazine, and Red Press Society, a non-profit organization that oversees Raspberry Magazine, held their now annual Raiseberry fundraiser.

Raiseberry was created in 2017 to celebrate the Fraser Valley’s artists, musicians, writers, and anyone else who can be considered a creative.

“By featuring a range of genres and artists each year, we’re able to offer a snapshot of what’s happening locally. It becomes another way for the community to connect,” said Katie Stobbart, one of the founders of Raspberry Magazine and Red Press Society’s executive director.

“This year one of our goals was to offer modest honoraria to the artists and performers who contribute their time and talent to Raiseberry,” she said. “Our team feels strongly about the importance of compensating artists however we can, and wanted to make that a priority this year. Event sponsorship from the UFV Alumni Association helped make that possible.”

Walking into the Reach Gallery and Museum, guests were met with wine and refreshments. Soft music played from overhead, and in the front of the gallery, Shannon Thiesen was live painting what eventually formed into a brightly coloured octopus. In the gallery beyond, a silent auction was set up, and guests could walk around and look at current, dream-like exhibits by Chris Reid, Davida Kidd, Rebecca Chaperon, and Saskia Jetten.

A little after 7 p.m., the formal kick-off of the event began with acknowledgements from Katie Stobbart, followed by a welcome from Sandy Blue, Abbotsford’s deputy mayor. After Blue’s welcome came a land acknowledgement and traditional welcoming song from Chris Silver of the Sumas Nation, and finally a few words from Jessica Wind, the president of Red Press Society.

Guests were then treated to Jada Klein’s smooth voice, followed by Quinn Sojonky’s catchy guitar riffs. After this were readings from Margret Bollerup, who read gut-wrenching poems about her mother’s dementia, Heather Ramsey, who read a touching piece of non-fiction regarding the effects of colonization in Chilliwack, and Seamus Heffernan, who read from his new noir crime novel, Napalm Hearts. Afterward, guests were again treated to music by TESSA, as well as local favourite Casinos.

“There’s a surreal feeling when the event comes to fruition: when the musicians are playing and people are enjoying the artwork and the atmosphere and each other’s company… when it all comes together and feels like community,” said Stobbart.

Stobbart has big ideas for what Raiseberry will become in the future.

“We have three main priorities: to increase the diversity of the event, to better include more Fraser Valley communities, and to reflect an even wider range of artistic genres.”

All money raised from the sale of event tickets and the silent auction go toward improving Raspberry Magazine.

Image: Cat Friesen/The Cascade

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