The Inside Track: Anita Lal on “The Business of Culture”


My name is Gurjeet Phungara. I recently joined VIBC as a volunteer as I wanted to get a better idea of what the organization does and also give back to something that I feel strongly about. As I delve deeper into the organization, I am starting to realize all the great things that VIBC brings not only to the Indo-Canadian population but to all ethnicities and backgrounds. Not only do they present their City of Bhangra Festival to thousands of locals and international visitors every spring, but throughout the year they build partnerships with other cultural organizations, support diverse arts initiatives, and create amazing educational and artistic opportunities for youth of all ages and backgrounds, sparking that community feeling through the promotion of arts, culture, and dance—and, of course, the joy of bhangra.

On February 19, VIBC is hosting their first fundraiser, The Business of Culture, with the Surrey Board of Trade. This will be a night dedicated to enriching the world by connecting cultural communities, supporting local art initiatives, and creating opportunities for youth engagement through business, the arts, and education. It’s also a night to raise funds to support the City of Bhangra Festival, which runs this year from June 11–18th in the beautiful cities of Surrey and Vancouver.

I wanted to get a better understanding of what exactly VIBC was trying to promote and achieve through this fundraiser and so I reached out to Anita Lal, Executive Director of VIBC, and asked her, what exactly is VIBC trying to get across to the public with this event? How does this event reflect the best of VIBC and tie in with their future goals especially in relation to the theme of the fundraiser, The Business of Culture. Her responses were illuminating!

“We have been working hard for 12 years, creating space for cultural arts organizations within the community,” said Anita. “Using this space to promote cultural engagement through collaborative works, brings together different communities, provides safe spaces for important dialogue that engages not only cross-cultural discussion, but cross-generational discussions around topics of identity, equality, and human rights. We want the business community to understand all that, and also what organizations like ours bring economically. So, it's not just about the social impact we make, but the economic one.”

She went on to say that the fundraiser will be “programmed in true VIBC style,” featuring local artists, painters, musicians, and dancers sharing their energy, enthusiasm, and joy with the audience. “We will also have some very important dialogue happening on stage, with talks by Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, Tarun Nayar from VIBC, a keynote address by VIBC founder and former director Mo Dhaliwal, and a talk by Jocelyn Macdougall of the PuSh Festival. We are bringing together business, arts, and government in one event to talk about and celebrate the ongoing work of VIBC.”
VIBC’s future plans include doing more in Surrey, especially with youth. “We see a need to provide opportunities for arts-minded youth, especially ones that are focused on their professional development and moving forward with their skills,” says Anita. Working with families and the Surrey community as well as universities in the area is also key to VIBC’s future aspirations.
I’m proud to be part of this great organization, knowing that there is no better way to express local connectivity by joining in the spirit of celebration, generosity, and community that is the bhangra movement.

For more details or for ticket information, visit:
The Business of Culture Fundraiser
Friday, February 19, 2016, 6:00pm
Riverside Signature Hall, 13030-76 Avenue, Surrey, BC
Tickets: $750 for a table of 10, Individual $85

Blog by Gurjeet Phungura
Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Bhangra


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