*UPDATE* Download the post-conference press release in English et en Français.
The Visual Arts Alliance (VAA) brought together almost 60 invited participants from varied disciplines and sectors to investigate the long-term future of the visual arts in Canada. This colloquium, titled “Re-Visioning the Visual Arts” commemorated the Conference of Canadian Artists held in Kingston in 1941, examining the visual arts today in terms of “public engagement” and exploring how the visual arts can be better integrated into both the Canadian economy and society as a whole.
CCF/FCMA Administrative Director Maegen Black and CCF/FCMA President Deb Dumka attended this prestigious conference. Representing our industry, they shared insights and took part in the debates during the event.
But being there live was not the only way to be involved, as the Visual Arts Alliance hosted a live web broadcast of the opening keynote and panel discussion on the Evolving Role of the Arts in Canada by Keynote Speaker Jeff Melanson. The webcast is still online, and can be viewed at the URL: http://streaming.queensu.ca/vmp/html/vaa.html.
In his speech, Jeff Melanson, Executive Director and Co-CEO of Canada’s National Ballet School and soon to be President and CEO of The Banff Centre, provided a tour of the evolving role of the arts in Canada from the 1960s and the 1970s when culture-building was used as a force for nation-building, through to the 1990s, and early 2000s, when the emphasis shifted to city-building. He looked at the current challenges facing arts organizations and how best they can be supported.
In response to Melanson’s presentation, four panellists expanded upon the discussion of the visual arts as an evolving “ecosystem”, of which the public is an essential part. The keynote and discussion panel are all part of the broadcast, which kick-started the next two days of debate. A report on the event will be released in the coming weeks!