On June 22, 2010, some 25 people joined the bi-weekly telephone information session for a roundtable on community organizing. Amazing reports were heard from communities across the country that have taken up the Culture Days vision and made it their own. Read part 1 of the reports from the Peterborough Culture Days group, City of Richmond (BC), City of Surrey (BC), Stouffville (ON), Chemainus (BC), and Flin Flon (MB)/Creighton (SK).This blog post reports on a few more communities.
Calling from the Town of Kindersley, SK, Wayne Gibson reported that his role as Culture and Youth Coordinator is a new position for the municipality. As such, he is “carving a new path,” says Wayne, who also noted that a “huge amount of the population here is really interested in arts and culture.” Getting the municipality to proclaim Culture Week in support of Culture Days, which you may have read about in our last newsletter, was a great way for Wayne’s office to make sure culture stays on the municipal agenda – particularly during this year’s 100th anniversary of the Town of Kindersley. Happily, the Culture Days dates in Saskatchewan coincide with Kindersley’s Annual Goose Festival, so cross-promotions are being planned to get the new movement more exposure.
The London Arts Council and the Ottawa Arts Council are spearheading the movement in their respective Ontario communities. Both organizations reported that it was a “no brainer” to get involved with the national movement.
Peter Honeywell gave an account of the Ottawa working group. “We had our first meeting in January; it was a working group of 3. We are now a group of 20 representing galleries, arts education, national institutions and local performing arts.” He recommends to all organizers to “keep it simple, publish details as soon as possible to make the most of promotional opportunities, and be ready to get graphics out if the media calls.” The Ottawa working group has secured the Ottawa Citizen as a sponsor.
Andrea Halwal, from the London Arts Council noted that they had already been working on “Culture Days-like initiatives in London.” Andrea suggests that if you are interested in rallying your community, consider hosting some community meetings. “The national office and provincial representatives can help you put together the meeting by supplying takeaway items and suggested speaking points etc.” Andrea also suggests reaching out to as many interest groups as you can – including economic development, tourism, Business Improvement Associations… “They have all been tremendously supportive,” says Andrea. “No one has declined the opportunity to support in some way.”
Geraldine Parent, representing the City of Burnaby, BC reported that in spite of the challenges posed by the BC funding situation, the Burnaby Arts Council is planning to try to do something around Culture Days. The City of Burnaby itself operates three facilities: Burnaby Art Gallery, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, and Burnaby Village Museum. “We are leveraging what we already do traditionally, and consolidating it all into the Culture Days weekend.”
Some of you have asked, who can take ownership of Culture Days for a community?
The short answer: anyone. Culture Days works somewhat like Wikipedia: Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia (the online, opensource encyclopedia), and anyone can organize a community meeting and rally people together in support of Culture Days in their community. We do, however, recommend that local working groups try to involve a good range of expertise around the table, such as artists, diverse cultural groups, heritage, education, libraries, businesses, business improvement associations, tourism, marketing, economic development, the local arts council, and the municipality. Got questions? Send it via the comment box below.
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