Nazanin Shoja, the OAC Culture Days Ontario Animator/Coordinator, spoke with Jacquie Severs, Manager, Communications & Social Media, about what the Robert McLaughlin Gallery offered the residents of Durham County, ON during Culture Days 2010.
Culture Days - Who are you and what do you do?
Jacquie Severs – We are the largest public art gallery in Durham Region with an important collection of modern and contemporary art.
CD - What made your 2010 Culture Days activity unique?
JS - For Culture Days last year we hosted an art opening and party, as well as a costumed life drawing event as well as offered tours in 6 languages. It was our first time participating in Culture Days and the first time offering the costume life drawing event as well. It was unique in that we partnered with the Durham Shoestring Performers, who took part as costumed models for this event.
CD - What inspired or surprised you about Culture Days?
JS - I was surprised at how quickly people got on board for Culture Days in the city of Oshawa. It was nice to see the excitement for a brand new event.
CD - What did you learn from your experience of Culture Days that would be useful for other activity organizers to know?
JS - There were many venues, which sometimes created competition. For this year, we would like to avoid that by timing things better. We also plan on collaborating with other organizers in terms of marketing and cross-advertising. A lot of attendees work in culture, so we would like to stagger the events, so that everyone has the opportunity to attend other events.
CD - What do you feel is the impact of culture in your community?
JS - Culture Days helped draw attention to the arts and culture community, which helps Oshawa in its transition from a manufacturing to a creative economy. The growth of arts and culture helps draw in new audiences, improving lifestyle and revitalizing the downtown core.
CD - Give us a hint of what you are planning for your 2011 Culture Days activity.
JS - We are planning a photography project workshop and activities linked to our historical collection of photographs from the Thomas Bouckley Collection. Activities may include flash mobs and a historical scavenger hunt.
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