Arts & Culture Rock City Council in Cornwall Ontario – August 10, 2011 Culture Plan Released!

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

Jeff Brunet & Rod Rivette of Seaway Cultural Committee

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.

Culture Plan LINK

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.



  1. I just wanted to point out that CRAG is a major player in the SCAC. They would like to see a cultural arts center built to unify all artistic disciplines under one roof in order to reduce the cost of operations to all current organizations. Another major SCAC player is the Centre Culturelle de Cornwall. These organizations along with the many others in the SCAC representing artists from all disciplines will facilitate further research in regards to government funding as well as provide more fundraising opportunities. The SCAC has shown the ability to rally cultural and artistic groups together. It has been as is a pleasure to be working with all our current supporters and we wish to extend an invitation to all those cultural and artistic groups that have not had the opportunity to speak with us to get in touch with us as we would love to have your input. I assure you we are not muddling forward but running all cylinders to reach our goals.
    I just wanted to personally say thank you to Jaime and the Cornwall Free News for their continued support of arts and culture in Cornwall. The SCAC is looking forward to working with the CFN to make Cornwall a vibrant cultural community.

    Rodney Rivette

  2. I don’t understand why you people need to “BUILD” a new building, there are many empty building that can be used, why the hell as a tax payer should my taxes go towards building a new building when you can save money by using one already standing? Just like the waist of taxpayers money that was used for the new arena…lets let it fall apart and not keep up the work on the arenas we have, wait till its unfixable then wast money to build a new one, what us wrong with this picture here?

  3. It seems that music and musicians appear to currrently be the focus of the Arts and Culture initiative. What about poets, writers, painters, sculptures, photographers and even chefs (culinary arts). They too are all part of the Arts and Culture community.

  4. Stacey you are so right. We are investigating all options for an arts community.

    Reg the SCAC reached out to all artistic disciplines not just musicians. Poets, writers, painters, sculptures, photographers and chefs are currently represented by the SCAC. There is always room for more Reg. We are hoping that cultural leaders such as yourself will see the benefit of a unified vision and how this vision will help in meeting the needs of Cornwall’s cultural community. Further discussions between all parties will insure that a cultural art center will be built to properly suit the needs of all artistic disciplines allowing artist to properly promote and hone their skills.
    We can’t forget the importance of education. A cultural art center will be a vital educational tool when teaching people (not only children) about the importance of culture in all communities. A true cultural art center promotes culture from around the world. It would be great to have art displays including artists from around the world. What about a book reading? I could go on and on. The relationships between art centers across Canada and worldwide are easily forged through the exchange of artists.
    It would be great to have this happen here in Cornwall.

  5. So I see the future now, the world in which our grandchildren and their grandchildren will live. There is no music, for there are no musicians. There are no movies, as there are no actors. There are no books to read, no stories to tell. There are no comedians, no dancers, no jugglers, clowns or puppeteers. There are no animated stories and there are no video games. There’s no computer software or social networking. Instead I see, on the corner of every street, a youth with a cigarette in one hand and a skateboard in the other and a thought bubble containing the words “there’s nothing to do”. Of course there’s nothing to do, that’s because your parents saw no need to develope creative talent, the developement and refinement of culture was not required in those days. As a result we have evolved into a society containing absolutlely no form of entertainment. Why ? Because people didn’t want it – or so they thought.

  6. I believe that Arts and Culture is vital to promoting Cornwall and surrounding areas. It would be nice to have the other five municipalities on board as well. Its all about marketing. I believe that in order for the Arts and Cultural partnership to be successful it must come from the individuals themselves.
    Stacey, you make some good points. No new building, re-use. I want to caution everyone. If we don’t go about this wisely with some commonsense thinking then chances are you will get very little support from tax payers. Just my opinion.

  7. To get any kind of partnership we have to put egos and private agendas aside. There is an opportunity here to co-operate and use our individual strengths to support the whole arts and culture movement.

  8. Or honestly, something like cosmic adventures, if you really take a look around when you are walking around the street of cornwall…there is a large amount of younger children…we also should look into something like that for the young ones….even that do you realize the amount of crime it would stop with the teenagers if we had something like an indoor skate(er) park…you’d be amazed at how many youths would use it:)

  9. We also need people who can pull it off. people who are trusted in our community. you guys look like a bunch of hoods. pushing and knocking all the other groups in this town. if you two have anything to do with this. I and many more people will not get behind it. Really, do you even have jobs??????

  10. Hello Susan
    You obviously are not understanding our message. We are trying to bring all interested parties together to create a beautiful facility all of Cornwall will be proud to enjoy. We are just two of many people dedicating our time to help make this happen. At no time did we make this about Jeff Brunet or Rodney Rivette. Our group is filled with respected community leaders who believe that Cornwall’s arts and cultural scene needs to move forward with many different projects. We just want to help with the process. If you are part of a group which is looking to build on our existing arts and cultural infrastructure we are asking you let us all work together. Why would do any different? The efforts of many are needed to accomplish our community goals.
    On another note, there is no need for me to talk about your comments about me being a hood or jobless(but perhaps it is necessary) . My business has been in existence for twenty years. My family has given much back to this community as it has given us so much. My community involvement includes: Winterfest Chair and Vice Chair, United Way Special Events Chair, CNIB board member, Cornwall Youth Center Vice-President just to name a few.
    Enough about me. If you or anyone else wishes to work together to make Cornwall a better place, you can reach me at or by telephone at 613-363-4708.
    Let’s all make a difference,
    Rodney Rivette

    Sorry if there are any mistakes with my post. It is difficult to post with an iPhone.

  11. Ok..Here are my Views and Ideas!
    I’m hoping that we do launch Arts and Culture in our city. I think the waterfront location would be a fantastic idea. We have many colourful talents in many areas here in Cornwall..( music, poetry, painting, culinary, etc.)..this list is endless!! …And why not show it all off. I think Cornwall could stand right out and become such a interesting city. We will encourage more awareness and opportunities to young artists or artists just starting out..etc. I think building up the waterfront will give people inspiration and motivation to get with their inner creativity…All that said…we will continue with future growth for the art and cultural of our city. We will also generate tourism. Oh, the possibilities are endless!
    Like other cities around us…their waterfronts are built up with specialty shops, hobby shops, art shops, cafes and restaurants etc .It would be nice to walk up our Pitt street and venture onto a paradise of arts and culture. I would jump on board to help get these shops built in every which way needed. We could get volunteers to create this waterfront paradise. I talk with so many people about the waterfront in Cornwall….and most will say, “I can’t believe Cornwall isn’t like Kingston or Brockville with their waterfront!” Not much on the Cornwall’s waterfront to see or do! That’s why many of us would rather spend our time in these other cities…and spend our money there as well…because there’s so much to do…and it’s sooo beautiful. I’ve said this for many years…Cornwall needs an “ACTIVE” waterfront.
    Enough said…because I could go on and on!

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