2015/2016 Multicultural Arts Event

The proposal for revising the Capitol Hill School’s annual multicultural event (formally known as the Multicultural Dinner) to the Multicultural Arts Festival was approved by majority vote on the October 14, 2015 PAC meeting. The festival’s intent is to be more inclusive of the community and to enhance the school’s goal in social emotional learning. The proposal has been established in consultation with the principal of the school, teachers, and parents.


November 2015: After receiving the go-ahead from the PAC, the PAC Chair and Vice-Chair have brought the proposal forward to the school for further discussions.

December 2015: The PAC Chair and Vice-Chair had an initial meeting with 3 teachers and the principal. The purpose is to start a collaborative relationship with the school on this event, so that as a team, we will plan and implement this together in a supportive environment.

The Proposal Summary: Multicultural Arts Festival

We are planning to continue celebrating and honoring our spirits of diversity and community this year by putting an “arts” component to our largest and much anticipated annual tradition.

The festival is the end of a year-long process of intentional immersion of all students into social emotional learning, with emphasis on empathy through understanding of cultural values, with expression of feelings and emotions through art.

Our proposal engages all staff and students throughout the year with additional resources to enhance learning on arts and culture through the existing curriculum, as well as to support the school’s goal of social emotional learning. At the end of the school year, each student can proudly display their achievements through a masterpiece or performance. This is a unique opportunity for this year, and we are highly confident that all students will benefit and achieve great success…. And yes! We’re planning to have a cultural food component in the form of culinary arts!

Click here to see a comparison between the multicultural dinner and the proposed revision

The Purpose

The process leading up to the arts festival has the intent of achieving the school’s goal of social emotional learning through the following:

  1. To involve all students in the expression and communication of inner feelings through art
  2. To build confidence, mastery, and a sense of pride by developing and showcasing original art piece(s)
  3. To educate our students and community about various perspectives, values, and cultures
  4. To build character strengths such a perseverance, grit, and resilience
  5. To bring our community together, by including student artists and emerging artist

The Process

Most of the purpose is achieved by supporting the teachers in enriching components in the current curriculum (which has been recently updated) where arts and additional resources can enhance the learning experience. Once the teachers have decided on the focus, the PAC tries to find resources to help teachers and students complete their art pieces, which may include acquiring supplies to inviting in artists. Our definition of Art is wide-ranging, from visual arts to performances.

The Timeline

The process leading up to the festival involves the following timeline. Unique and meaningful opportunities are presented to the parents and community volunteers throughout.

Now to November: Planning

Teachers are engaged to consider what aspects of the curriculum can benefit most from engagement of an arts component. This can be from any subject. Resources required are noted and compiled.

For example, the teacher may feel students can be better engage by translating how they feel about an experience they’ve read about in social studies about immigrants from Asia. They may create an art piece that communicates the experience. The teacher may request resources like community elders in, who have been through that experience to help inform that project.

December to January: Initiating

Resources are acquired to help the children succeed. .

February to May: Creating

Students create their art pieces. Resources are brought in to help with the process.

End of May – Arts festival

Resources and Opportunities

This is being planned as an event that will involve parent volunteers. It’s also being planned to involve meaningful experiences for student volunteers from schools in the community, which students they can use to further their profile, such as Work Experience Students from Burnaby North Secondary, Students from various departments at Simon Fraser University, and emerging artists in Burnaby, such as those associated with Shadbolt Center and Emily Carr University.

Benefits and Fundraising

The key benefits are realized through community involvement and in acquiring resources for the teachers to produce the art-work, so that the students can be engaged and have an immersive experience in their learning. We are applying for arts grants where available.

On the day of the arts festival, opportunities also arise for fundraising. This may include the following:

  • Silent Auction
  • Food and retail sales
  • Commemorative Photography
  • Ticket Sales

How does it compare with the multicultural dinner?



Multicultural Dinner Multicultural Arts Festival
Timing of event

End of May, 2016

Intents and Purposes Honors the tradition at Capitol Hill of:

  • Celebrating Culture and Diversity
  • Bringing the school community together (Parents and Students)
  • Promoting cross-cultural understanding
Additional Intents
  • Social and Emotional Learning through understanding of cultural values, by developing empathy through art and story telling
  • Student involvement throughout the year
Expression of culture Culture is showcased through food and student performance on the night of the event


Students are immersed in cultural experience(s) through the creation of art as part of their curriculum during the year.

They learn the stories and the diversity of values associated with cultural learning as they create their masterpieces, which are presented at the festival.

The food Buffet dinner Opportunities to engage students at the school and the community to create appetizers as culinary art, which can include ethnic food.
Location of evening event Gym Entire school
Attendees About 200; primarily families of students Over 200. Everyone in the community is invited.
Fund Raising Opportunities Primarily Silent Auction Silent Auction
Food and retail sales
Art Grants
Ticket Sales
Additional considerations Benefits also provided by art volunteers, lending of and use of art equipment, possibly at Burnaby North, volunteer instruction, extra curricular activities, etc…
Community Involvement Burnaby North Secondary School Students and community volunteers may participate to run the night. Generates meaningful experiences for the community who may look for careers in Art or Education, such as:

  • BNSS work experience students
  • SFU Students
  • emerging artists in Burnaby


Supporting School Goal for 2015/16: Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

SEL programming is based on the understanding that the best learning emerges in the context of supportive relationships that make learning challenging, engaging, and meaningful.

Social and emotional skills are critical to being a good student, citizen, and worker. Many risky behaviors (e.g., drug use, violence, bullying, and dropping out) can be prevented or reduced when multiyear, integrated efforts are used to develop students’ social and emotional skills. This is best done through effective classroom instruction, student engagement in positive activities in and out of the classroom, and broad parent and community involvement in program planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Importance Of Arts Education

December 2014, Burnaby Now article: Why the arts matter in Burnaby schools?

“…The benefits to children and youth from instruction in music and the visual and performing arts are well documented. And the investment is well worth it.” Read more…

Our Definition of “Art” and “Arts Education”

For a number of people, “Art” refers to an inanimate object, such as a painting, or a performance for entertainment, such as a play. For us, “Art” is the expression of authentic feelings through any constructive means (from creative writing to photography to sculptures to visual arts to performing arts). And “Arts Education” is the coaching and mentoring of our students to effectively express and communicate those feelings constructively in their own way.

As academic research shows, “Art” is an essential part of childhood development, especially in helping children communicate and express their self, managing their own emotions, and developing empathy in others. As parents, we fear that this lack of arts education could lead to development of character strengths, which are important for success later in life. This includes the ability for children to learn to get along with others by understanding other people’s points of view and emotions, and resolving conflicts through the intellect (rather than physically). This is a real tragedy that we are facing, and we need to overcome government politics and start mitigating this issue now.