The February 16 focus group on sustainable space and cultural entrepreneurship attracted perhaps the most diverse set of individuals of all the sector-specific meetings and included representatives from youth groups, creative hubs, arts and business incubators, galleries, performance spaces, even a successful independent music label.
Unfortunately, due to human error – mine – photos of the event were lost. Luckily our notes survive and have been distilled here.
Like previous sessions, the conversation was structured around four main headings: creative clusters and districts, cultural entrepreneurship and innovation, big opportunities ahead, and quick wins and urgent messages. All of this was aimed at answering two fundamental questions: 1) How do we increase the amount of affordable/sustainable cultural space in the city? and 2) How do we create an environment that supports and promotes cultural entrepreneurship? READ MORE
Toronto-based filmmaker Fadel Saleh, above, is a one-man microcosm of Canadian multi-culturalism; a French-speaking Egyptian, born of Lebanese parents, he immigrated to Canada in 1985. Beyond all expectation, Saleh has somehow managed to work exclusively in French since finding his footing with the National Film Board in 1990. He won a Gemini Award for his first Canadian effort, Our Place in the Sun, a French film about multiculturalism among Francophones living in Ontario. Since then he has worked with the NFB, with independent production company Mediatique and as a freelance writer and director.
Saleh’s latest film, Les Conspirationnistes, premiers Saturday (March 26) as part of this year’s Cinefranco International Francophone Film Festival of Toronto (March 25 – April 3). The documentary looks at conspiracy theorists, individuals who dedicate themselves to learning about and exposing what they purport to be government and media cover-ups of the 9/11 highjackings, UFOs, chemtrails, the Kennedy assassinations, the list goes on and on. READ MORE
Facilities and infrastructure proved to be a hot topic at the fifth sector-specific Creative Capital Initiative focus group February 14. Members of the arts community, with an emphasis on galleries and theatres, assembled in a City Hall committee room to share their ideas about how to effectively maintain their organization’s physical structures and increase access to affordable space across the city.
Economic Development Committee Chair Michael Thompson (above, with Rita Davies, Executive Director of Toronto Cultural Services) was on hand to lend his support to the process. Said Councillor Thompson, “The Creative Capital Initiative is about the cultural industries working with city staff and with the private sector to fashion a plan that will be part of the City’s cultural strategy. It’s something that you’re all going to be very proud of because you’ve been instrumental in terms of making the recommendations it will contain.”
Added the Councillor: “Let’s ensure that what we do is part of the infrastructure foundation that we want to leave in this city so we can move forward instead of regressing.” READ MORE
The catastrophic events in Japan this past week have shaken the members of Toronto-based, Japanese contemporary dance collective, Green Tea, but in typical show biz fashion, the group’s performances this weekend at the Winchester Street Theatre will go on.
“We don’t have family members in that part of the country,” says dancer/choreographer Hiroshi Miyamoto (above right, with Masumi Sato, left, and Keiko Ninomiya, centre), “but of course our hearts are with our countrymen and women. We will have a donation box in the lobby of the theatre and plan to donate the contributions to the Canadian Red Cross’s efforts in Japan.”
Two members of Green Tea travelling from Japan for this performance were already safely in Canada when the earthquake and Tsunami hit the Japanese coast late last week. The collective has come together to present Dai Don Den 3, the third in a series of dance collaborations that bridge Canada and Japan, as well as Eastern and Western music and dance styles. READ MORE
Art Metropole was the scene of a sad celebration Saturday afternoon as friends and colleagues of Toronto artist Gordon Lebredt came out en masse to welcome the arrival of Nonworks 1975 – 2008 and to say goodbye to the artist who lost his valiant fight with cancer on February 26. Edited by Lebredt’s partner Lin Gibson, Nonworks is a monograph containing sketches of works that were conceived but never realized, hence the title.
In the book’s prologue David Court and Josh Thorpe note that the book “constitutes a major retrospective of a body of work that exists only as possibility . . . Our hope, in initiating and assisting in the publication of this book, is that some of these works will be “realized,” but also simply a wish to support Gordon’s position of art-making as a matter invested with intellectual and ethical urgency — a pursuit that is neither straightforward nor easy and which stubbornly follows its own skewed trajectory and proceeds with no expectation of reception or return.”
Nonworks 1975 – 2008 is available through Art Metropole (788 King Street West, 416.703-4400).