Monday, April 27, 2009

I spent my Saturday at Cambridge City Hall, as a participant in the Arts, Business and Creativity conference. This is an annual event coordinated by the Region's Small Business Centres and municipal culture developers. It is geared towards artists and community members employed by arts organizations.

The day was jam-packed, but very pleasant. Opening ceremonies and breakfast in City Hall, and the workshops were held in the Cambridge Centre for the Arts. I am ashamed to admit, this was my first time in the Centre for the Arts. It's a great facility, with so much instructional space and natural light.

The workshops were informative. In the last session we had a keynote speaker, Councillor Gord Hume from London, Ontario. He delivered a passionate speech on the Creative City report, released a couple years ago, and how municipalities can become creative communities. He inspired some dialogue on how we can affect change in our municipality by exerting some pressure on Council members at election time, and place emphasis on the aesthetics of the city and "place-making".

I kept my ears wide open during all the question and answer periods throughout the day. This is what I'm hearing:
  • Artists want affordable, safe work space
  • Artists are finding it difficult to bring awareness to the arts and culture, especially at the muicipal level.
  • It is difficult to get past the city staff, or through to Council; There needs to be a way to bring arts and culture to the forefront and at the top of the Councils' agendas
All in all, there is an obvious need for this conference, and more knowledge-sharing in our community. The people attending the workshops were thirsty for it. And it was so nice not to see the usual faces from the arts community (no offence!). It made me realize just how diverse our arts community is and who is working in the realm outside of our local arts organizations.

What the day taught me: Artists will continue to create despite the state of the economy, and our creativity will outlive even the worst of times.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

At 4:30pm sharp people started filing into the Button Factory to view the works of 31 artists. Thursday, from 4:30 to 7pm, the Centre opened its doors for the annual Colours of Art. On the second floor, 30 members exhibited paintings and drawings of various styles, subjects and sizes.

I was so impressed with the variety of pieces this year. We had 30 registrations and 62 submissions, which made for a packed catalogue for viewers to take away. We are accepting People's Choice ballots until May 2nd. I am so proud of this year's show, and I hope we've raised the bar for the Juried Show coming up in October.

On the first floor, Terry Torra presented his show, called "H2O Plus". His paintings range from an impressio-realist style to abstract. Terry celebrates the beauty of waterfalls, and brings life to the abstract explorations by making the colours jump from the canvas.

Many thanks to the Gallery Committee for their efforts in coordinating the receptions on both floors, the take-in and hanging of the artwork. It was much appreciated and you did a wonderful job!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A week ago the Button Factory was a hive of activity. I had to wade through accoustic guitars and mingling amateur guitarists to get to the reception desk. The phone was off the hook and the cash register thought it was part of the live entertainment. The 5th annual Waterloo/Wellington Guitar Summit was in full swing.

Richard Burnett brought four gorgeous instruments for display, all the way from Folkway Music in Guelph. The music store sponsored this event.

Bob MacLean, Rick Zolkower and Dunstan Morey was the workshop instructors and performers for the day. The workshops attracted a record 40 registrations! And this we had more women attend than any other year!

This was my first Guitar Summit, and my first concert since I took the position of General Manager at the Button Factory (gulp). But with the help of these gentlemen and Jim Galway, the evening's concert went beautifully.

To honour Earth Hour we dimmed the lights, and the performers unplugged. Each of the performers celebrated their mentors with beautiful performances, showing off skill and talent with the guitar that I had never seen or heard before. We kept the presentation simply, but the performances were diverse - blues, celtic and classical pieces.

I'm already looking forward to next year's summit.