Ontario Culture Days is back! We have been on the road for the past 9 weeks conducting Culture Days information sessions across the province from Windsor to Cornwall, Thunder Bay to Niagara Falls, and everywhere in between. In all we conducted 27 information sessions (including one webinar in Red Lake) attended by 400 people. Information sessions were hosted by local partners such as arts councils and the cultural and tourism departments of cities, municipalities, regions and counties including 9 new communities involved in the movement for the first time.
Whether communities are organizing Culture Days activities for the first, second or third year, holding a Culture Days information session was a valuable experience. Participants left with a better understanding of the origins and goals of Culture Days, as well as the promotional support and marketing materials available through Culture Days. Information sessions also provided an important opportunity for diverse artists and representatives from the arts and culture sector to get together to share their plans and experiences, often with representatives of city cultural divisions, tourism boards, BIAs, local businesses, and others who can offer promotional or funding support for arts and cultural activities.
Many new ideas and collaborations came out of the information sessions. We’re looking forward to seeing the exciting results come to fruition this September 28-30! Positive outcomes of the sessions include:
Coordinating local planning strategies for Culture Days, such as:
- Hub locations were planned in The Regional Municipality of Durham and Windsor
- The City of Oakville and Oakville Arts Council announced that they were planning a major Culture Days hub at the Queen Elizabeth Community and Cultural Centre on Saturday September 29th. They encouraged activity organizers needing a venue to consider the QECCC on Saturday, and those wishing to hold activities in a different location to program on either Friday or Sunday to avoid competition for audiences.
Fostering new partnerships and collaborative relationships that can support both Culture Days programming and year-round local cultural planning and activities, such as:
- In Stratford a representative from the hospital came out to the information session resulting in an interesting new partnership to bring Culture Days activities to an unusual site
- The Windsor tourism board attended their local information session with a desire to foster relationships with the arts community
Creating regional approaches to Culture Days programming, such as:
- North Bay created a task group to coordinate regional planning, promotion and marketing with outlying areas such as Corbeil and Callendar.
- Peterborough and Northumberland Counties are investigating how to coordinating some shared promotions
Developing more dynamic and engaging interactive activities through group brainstorming and the provision of novel examples from other Culture Days Activity and Community Organizers:
- Communities were inspired to hear about many past Culture Days activities such as guided bicycle tours, participatory dance sessions, volunteer appreciation events, Human Libraries, symphonic petting zoos, and much more. These exemplary activities sparked new ideas and got everyone’s creative juices flowing!
All in all Ontario Culture Days Information Sessions were a huge success! We want to thank everyone involved in hosting, organizing and participating in their local sessions for all their hard work that has sparked planning for 2012 Culture Days in communities across the province. It looks like Ontario is going to have our biggest, most exciting and innovative Culture Days yet.
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