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
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.