Cornwall ON –I’ve never seen Arts and Culture be such a hot topic as it seems to be here in Cornwall Ontario. The Culturescape report was released Monday night at city council. It
was attended by many from the ad hoc Seaway Cultural Committee (formerly the Cornwall Cultural Committee of which I was one of the founders) as well as some of the usual suspects who no doubt will have their names on committee chairs as that’s about all that ended up happening.
Councilor Denis Carr tried to delay the process as Councilor Thibault, who spear headed the Culturescape report is still on vacation, but council decided that an eleven person committee was just the right thing to advance things.
Personally I’m a hands on kinda guy. I think I have an handle on how most arts and culture folk work and play, and that’s why I created the SD&G Partnership which I’m very proud to be working on with the City of Cornwall, the Township of South Stormont, Seaway Tourism and the Eastern Ontario Training board.
This tiny initiative by the partners will provide all events, venues, organizations and most artists in Cornwall and South Stormont with free full page ads on The Cornwall Free News until December 31st, 2011. We’re hoping to add a few more partners before the pilot project is over.
The big picture goal is to have a full fledged Art Centre. That’s where the headache will be as there are already various factions frictioning as well as a fairly common vibe coming from some of the Township mayors that they aren’t that keen to put cash into a centre based in Cornwall as that won’t help them directly when it comes to tourism as much as it would help Cornwall. Mayor McDonell has already shown that’s he’s no fan of Arts & Culture already pooh poohed a centre based in Cornwall while Mayor’s like Bryan McGillis of South Stormont are keeping open minds about discussing what’s possible.
There’s even someone that started a facebook page protesting having an Arts Centre! (now that’s nutty!)
People don’t realize that we already have a tiny Arts centre or facility that could and should operate as an arts centre. It’s called CRAG, the Cornwall Regional Art Gallery. They already have some workshops, but if their board really focused with the various groups in the area there’s a huge opportunity to do more and help build some momentum while laying the foundations leading to a larger permanent facility.
In the meanwhile there’s a huge opportunity for the Arts and Culture community here in the area to really amp it up. You can’t just sit back and wait for government to do it for you. You have to create and build!
Those chosen to this new committee will set the tone for whether those behind this movement are serious. If it’s the same old same old committee members it will probably cause more friction and limit chances of success. I won’t name names although I’m really tempted to.
Hopefully at least one seat goes to the Seaway group as they seem to be muddling forward in some manner. Same for that secret group connected to Graham Greer. Hopefully at least one of them (
other than Keitha Fisher) grabs a spot on the committee as well.
The reality is that it probably will be somewhere 5-15 years before the dream of a full fledged Arts Centre becomes concrete. However there’s a lot that can be done in the interim that can help Arts, Culture, and the economy of our region.
In the meanwhile here’s a look at some of the next steps from the Culturescape site.
Jeff Brunet (who reminds me to remind you that 80’s band Toronto is playing at Bojangles) & Rod Rivette
Whatcha think? You can post your comments below.