Culture is the connective tissue that binds humanity together.
Public engagement in the arts is a crucial aspect of sustaining a thriving arts community, which in turn fosters a healthy economy and social environment for the whole country. For the past three years, the Canada Council for the Arts has been focusing on developing a broader conversation on how to engage people more fully in the arts and in the cultural life of their communities.
Among the interventions undertaken by the Council are new artistic collaborations, innovative exhibitions and screenings, public readings, market development grants, grants that allow organizations to advance their audience outreach and cultural mediation practices, and much more.
In its discussion paper on public engagement published on October 16, 2012, the Council writes that its primarily focus is to ensure that “artists remain at the center of its interventions and that the public has access to the highest quality artistic experience. This focus is important in staking out the territory that the Council can influence directly and allowing it to partner with other stakeholders who intervene in other areas of practice. The Council is not a sole actor in this arena and cannot succeed alone.”
According to the Council, its approach to public engagement means highlighting “the contribution that art and artists make to everyday life.” And “in the process it will find direct and indirect ways to help artists and arts organizations deepen and expand their engagement with audiences.” The National Congress on Culture “The Art of Engagement. Finding, Igniting, and Keeping Audiences,” taking place in Toronto on May 24, will present such an opportunity where the Council along with other stakeholders will elaborate on this subject.
Mr. Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of Canada Council for the Arts, will deliver one of the Congress’ keynote speeches. During his presentation, Mr. Sirman will speak to the challenges of the artists and arts organizations funded by the Canada Council for the Arts to “find, ignite and keep audiences”, a subject not only consistent with the theme of the National Congress but also with a larger strategy undertaken by the government and numerous arts and cultural organizations across Canada.
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