Meet our Organizers: Kaitlyn in Milton
Looking back on the 2019 celebrations, we want to highlight some exceptional organizers who help make the Culture Days weekend what it is across Canada. As a community organizer in Milton, ON, Kaitlyn Patience plays an integral role in ensuring the weekend is a success year after year. We wanted to learn a bit more about her experience. Here’s what Kaitlyn told us.
How long have you been involved with Culture Days?
I have been the Program Coordinator for Arts Milton, planning Milton Culture Days since March 2016. This year will be my 5th year coordinating Culture Days in Milton.
How did you first encounter Culture Days and why do you feel compelled to be involved year after year?
I first encountered Culture Days in 2015 when I worked for Craft Ontario in Toronto. I remember visiting the Culture Days website and seeing all of the options available within that city. I was delighted at all of the opportunities for exploration within the arts. When I was hired by Arts Milton the following year I was excited to step into a behind-the-scenes role planning this event. The Culture Days mission is one that I feel deeply connected to.
How do you view your role as a community organizer when it comes to engaging the community with arts and culture?
When I was completing my post secondary studies, I was confident that I wanted to work as a curator for a public art institution. However, as I began my career in the arts, I quickly discovered that I was more interested in bringing the arts to the community (as opposed to waiting for the community to come to the arts). In my role as a community organizer for Culture Days, community engagement is my focus. I want Miltonians to discover all of the arts and culture that surround them, and develop an affinity for it. I want them to attend arts and culture events, to volunteer at festivals, and to support individual artists and arts businesses - all goals which I believe align with the Culture Days mandate.
How many events are you usually involved with every year?
Milton Culture Days boasts anywhere from 65-95 individual activities each year. Arts Milton currently hosts all of these activities in one central hub location at the FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton.
What are the biggest challenges of being a community organizer? Especially for a region like Milton that produces a lot of events?
The main challenge for us is the scheduling of such a quantity and variety of activities. The various elements of date, time, location, and technical and volunteer support create a precise balance of events happening concurrently. Furthermore, we are always happy to see many return activity organizers, but we strive to encourage ingenuity in activities in order to keep the public excited and engaged each year.
What do you find the most exciting about Culture Days in Milton?
The most exciting aspect of Culture Days in Milton is seeing families discover activities together. The anticipation is truly palpable as we watch each location fill up with participants - and then seeing those same faces throughout the entire day as they travel from one new adventure to another.
How do the Culture Days events represent the Milton community?
The Culture Days events in Milton highlight the fabric of our community. We work hard to ensure we have local culture organizations participate and present activities inspired by their artistic traditions. We also have a wide range of activity organizers which represent the arts community including individual artists (both emerging and established), arts organizations, and arts businesses. We welcome participants from our community with open arms.
Is there anything exciting on the horizon for Culture Days in Milton?
Arts Milton is very excited about the future of Milton Culture Days. We have already begun brainstorming ideas for the 2020 theme of Unexpected Intersections. We love the concept of connecting disciplines which you might not normally see together. Future years of Milton Culture Days could see us branch out to other libraries and new locations within the city.