Donor spotlight: Mo Dhaliwal
November 16, 2017
Our donors transform the performing arts in our city through their generosity. Leading up to #GivingTuesday on November 28, we are sharing a few of their stories!
We spoke with Mo Dhaliwal, a longtime donor of PuSh and a founding member of the former PuSh Leaders Council, composed of luminaries from the worlds of the arts, education and business.
When did you first get involved with the PuSh Festival and what inspired you to do so?
I first learned about the PuSh Festival through friends in the arts community. I was exploring the arts and culture scene in Vancouver and happened to bump into people from the management team, actually. I was invited to attend and see what all the fuss was about. I came away with a strong sense of “vuja dé”—you know, that weird feeling that you’ve never ever seen this before.
What performance works inspire you the most?
I’m fascinated by dance. So anything that involves human movement tends to interest me a lot. Having said that, it’s so hard to explain the experiences I’ve seen at PuSh. Like how do you explain the work of Hong Kong Exile, or seeing Super Night Shot (PuSh 2014) unfold in front of you? It’s really difficult to put into words.
What is your favourite memory at the PuSh Festival?
I don’t think I have a favourite memory—the shows tend to be so varied and wide-ranging that it’s impossible to compare one to another. Rather, some of my most memorable moments are from the intimate gatherings; the preview evenings that are arranged for all the “cool kids” who are festival supporters. PuSh will create really great and welcoming evenings with good people, food and previews of what is to come—often with the artists and creators in attendance. It’s a very special little club to be a part of, within the larger PuSh experience.
Why do you think it’s important to support the arts?
The arts interpret and construct our culture. Our culture gives rise to our shared future. I believe when you support the arts, you’re supporting our capacity to imagine and create new futures. Imagination is evolution. Without the arts, we don’t evolve. There are all sorts of arguments made for the arts based on the great and positive impact that arises from investment in the arts—this all makes economic sense. However, after years of working on the boards of a multitude of organizations, I’ve come to realize that there are two types of people that I come across: those that are inspired and curious about the future, and those that are only worried about the immediate. It tends to be the former who invest in the arts.
Any other comments that you’d like to contribute?
PuSh has an entirely unique role in this city and we are lucky to have this festival be a representative of the city worldwide. Often I’ve heard creators and producers in other milieu describe their intention to be “the PuSh Festival” of their practice or locale. That just shows you how much vision, cultural leadership and artistic capacity is harnessed by this organization. It’s pretty f*cking amazing.