Culture, Culture and more Culture!
- By Cory Crossman
The final festival weekend of the season is upon us and it’s a biggie! London Arts Council has put together one hell of a party along Dundas Street to celebrate London’s diverse cultural community. Taking inspiration from past years, Culture Days has grown in 2017 including more local leaders, partners and arts enthusiasts to celebrate London Culture. The Public Art Symposium is better than ever bringing internationally recognized Key Note speakers and arts influencers to London to sprinkle wisdom on attendees.
Working closely with London Arts Council, the London Music Office was able to have a candid conversation with LAC Executive Director, Andrea Halwa, exploring the growth of Culture Days and the Public Art Symposium.
LMO: What is Culture days really all about?
LAC: Culture Days is a national celebration happening Coast to Coast each year over the last weekend of September. Thousands of towns, villages, communities and cities participate by celebrating their local arts and culture.
LMO: How is this year different in year 8?
LAC: It’s a total departure from past years. We are concentrating on one particular geographic area, Dundas Street. We chose this area for two reasons, the Culture District Study and the flex street plan for Dundas Street. The Culture District Study that went into this plan highlighted many creative opportunities for us to explore with the arts community. We felt this was a really good opportunity to put things in motion by testing out ideas and concepts we have. We were really exploring how this study can be used and how Dundas Street can be animated?
Andrea Halwa - London Arts Council - Executive Director
LMO: Culture and art are such vast subjects. How have you involved all the varying art disciplines?
LAC: We’ve included all disciplines. Curating the event allows you to start with the street and look at the opportunities that exist! It’s first mapped out then we build it out from there. We explored what assets are in place looking at the buildings, hydro, water etc and then we built from there. Later we looked at surfaces, store fronts and people. We did three separate calls to artists and did plenty of promotion to let people know what we were doing.
A number of artists came forward to propose projects that they could do. We have film and art projection components, concrete poetry projects, dance programming, musicians and staging. We’ve really got it all! Then we started looking at who was already on the street. Arts projects, Museum London, London Music Hall, The Satellite Project at DNA and other really arts focused venues and spaces. Fanshawe College and Budweiser Gardens were naturally great collaborators.
LMO: With so much action throughout the core, how were you able to work with existing energies and partners?
LAC: Along with the organizations we already talked about, the Fringe Festival is a key partner. Fringe moved their Nuit Blanche event to this weekend to work alongside us. Every year they offer something incredible. The programming will really change on Saturday night as Nuit Blanche takes over. Our folks will clear the street and Nuit Blanche will take over Saturday evening. It’s a great way for two events to work together in collaboration. We’re working together, not only to share common space but to share assets like staging as well. Because of this, you’ll a major amount of arts and culture this weekend.
LMO: Between Culture Days and the Public Art Symposium, the line up looks impressive and diverse. How did you go about pulling such a strong offering together?
LAC: It’s the curation piece. It’s really about addressing many of the challenges we have in public art. Commemoration is getting a lot of attention now, so how do we note the past? This isn’t a new thing but it’s beginning to garner a great deal of attention with all that is happening in the United States. Our most recent newsletter touched on this. (Click here to view). The Public Art Symposium is a tremendous learning opportunity for London artists that are looking to get into the field of public art and are looking to secure larger scale projects.
Very similar to the last answer, we looked at what can we envision on this street (Dundas Street). How do we continually animate the street with lightshows, dance, music, etc. It’s not a curtain opens and show begins type of event. It’s interactive with the audience and a behind the curtains view.
LMO: With so much to get excited about, what has you the most enthusiastic?
LAC: I’m most excited to see every single artist being paid for their work. The London Arts Council advocates for equitable treatment of artists. The way this event is designed is in keeping with our mandate. We’re working with professional artists and professionals needs to be paid!
For more details about London Arts Council, Culture Days or Public Art Symposium visit LAC's website.
All Ages : Yes
Free to attend? Yes
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