Honouring Sue Popesku

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – April 19th marked the second anniversary of Sue Popesku’s death, and it’s evident her legacy continues to be still felt in the Peace.

Popesku had her hands in everything arts and culture in the region, including working and volunteering with museums and arts councils.

Margaret May, vice president of the Fort St. John Community Arts Council, says that Popesku was integral in building the existing North Peace Cultural Centre and explains that Popesku was a visionary and a “doer”.

“She had the ideas, and then she had the energy to carry them out,” said May.

“Everything Popesku did was for the good of the community. It was never for any personal gain, and she was always moving forward.”

Popesku first came to Fort St. John in 1974 to teach at the high school as a drama and English teacher until 1978.

In 1975, she joined the arts council and directed the first full-scale musical performed at the NPSS gym. The students performed the musical ‘Oklahoma.’

Popesku helped establish Stage North in 1977, and in 1982 Artspace became a home for the arts in Fort St. John.

The following year, classes began being held at Artspace. The same year, CAC passed a motion to establish a committee to work toward the cultural centre.

May says that Popesku was integral in building the existing cultural centre.

Popesku was also a founding member of the Peace River North Festival’s revival.

In 1985, the North Peace Cultural Society was formed, and a legacy fund of $1 million from Expo 86 was given to go toward the cultural centre.

From 1988 to 1992, Popesku led fundraising efforts and advocated for developing the cultural centre until it finally opened in 1992.

From 1992 until the turn of the century, Popesku turned to developing a space for the Arts Council and pushing the city to bid for the B.C. Festival of the Arts, which was held in 2001.

Also, in 2001, Popesku started developing ice carving workshops, which evolved into the High on Ice festival from 2004 to 2005.

Until her final days, Popesku was a very active member of many councils and committees and helped establish many activities and helped to fundraise efforts to upgrade the cultural centre theatre.

Last year, a website was set up in her honour, an archive of material that she and other community members have collected from the area.

More recently, a project that Popesku was a part of, the Community Hub, has finished its feasibility study.

May has said that everyone involved has hoped Popesku would be proud.

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