About UsCreating and promoting events that link arts, nature, and community
To promote community-engaged arts in the West Kootenays
To create and promote events that link arts, nature, and community
To develop and create art and performance in multiple disciplines
The Polka Dot Dragon Arts Society is a community-engaged arts organization that focuses on creating multi-disciplinary work and bringing people together in celebration of art, nature, and community. The first Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Festival took place in 2014 at Cottonwood Lake. The festival grew quickly and in 2016 we moved it to Taghum Beach. From 2017-2022, the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute served as an umbrella organization for the festival, so that we could have better access to public funding. In January of 2022, we created the Polka Dot Dragon Arts Society. We continue to produce our lantern festival each February, which now takes place at Lakeside Park. Now that we have our own non-profit organization devoted to community engaged arts, we are initiating new projects. In the fall of 2023, we are partnering with Nelson and District Hospice Society to create a new event called Remember the Dead, which focuses on remembering our loved ones and normalizing grief in our society.
Our Artistic Director
Myra Rasmussen is a community engaged artist, who focuses on the role of festivals and celebrations in bringing people together. Originally trained in sculpture, her interest in festival arts developed through time spent assisting in carnival and parade productions in Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Port-of-Spain, Cleveland, Toronto, and Minneapolis. In 2008, she received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to travel to Aomori, Japan and apprentice with Master Artist Sakuryu Chiba, learning to make giant lanterns for the Aomori Nebuta Festival. She is drawn to events that showcase the compelling combination of visual arts, theater, dance, and music, as well as the experience of creating art in community. Since 2009, she has been based in Nelson, British Columbia, where she is the artistic director of the Polka Dot Dragon Arts Society, which focuses on creating multidisciplinary events that link the arts, nature, and community. She teaches in schools through the ArtStarts program and at the Oxygen Art Centre.