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Thursday, 16 March 2017 05:47

Swift Current forum an opportunity to discuss arts

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The Saskatchewan Arts Alliance (SAA) is partnering with the Art Gallery of Swift Current to host a community forum luncheon to bring artists and those with an interest in arts and culture together to share and discuss ideas.


The event will take place at the Art Gallery of Swift Current March 25, starting at 11:30 a.m.
This is part of a regular outreach by the SAA to connect with artists in different communities around the province. There is usually three roadshows every second year.
“We do these because the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance essentially exists to try to be the collective voice of the artists in the province,” SAA President Kelley Jo Burke said.
“We work with both professional practising artists and arts organizations to generate an understanding and connection with all the artists and offer professional support, communication, research and things like that to everybody in the province. The only way that building of connections works is if the artists in the different parts of the province actually know what we can offer them in terms of support and connection with other artists.”
The community forum in Swift Current will include a presentation by Dr. Ian McWilliams, the research officer at SAA, about the results of a four-year study of the provincial arts ecology. The study was aimed to gain a better understanding of the working conditions, connections and networks of artists.
This Saskatchewan Partnership for Arts Research (SPAR) project is based at the University of Regina and involves a number of organizations, including the SAA.
The surveys included questions about the education of artists, their income from their art, their other sources of income and the time they spend on their art compared to their other work.
“Those are all really important questions for anybody who is trying to build a life, because the strategies that we use to try to continue in the arts needs to be shared and one of the things we’re most interested in right now in this survey is collaboration,” Burke said. “We see collaboration being incredibly important for the art community remaining functioning and healthy and vibrant in a time when grant money is harder and harder to get.”
It is important to understand how artists are forming collaborative relationships in the communities where they work. As a result of the higher cost of living in larger urban centres in Saskatchewan during the past 10 years, there has been a growing interest among artists in the opportunities to live and work in smaller communities.
Dr. McWilliams will therefore also be recruiting local artists and residents to participate in a case study of the arts ecology of Swift Current.
“We are always looking to extend the reach,” Burke said. “The study was originally developed through just an online inquiry. We asked people to self-identify as artists and participate. … To be as accurate and representative as we can in our research we really want to reach out to people and encourage them to think of themselves as artists.”
‘Arts ecology’ refers to the environment in which an artist is practising art. Various factors will play a role to make a community a suitable place for artists to be creative and to interact with other artists.
“We believe very strongly and our research bears out, that building connections with other artists and other arts organizations is the best way for individual artists to have an environment that will actually sustain their work,” she mentioned.
The upcoming event in Swift Current is therefore a good opportunity to engage with other artists, but at the same time the forum is aimed at people with a broader interest in arts and culture.
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“We’re very excited to build connections with art educators, with people who are working in cultural outreach and things like that, because a lot of our research really speaks to how you continue to use the arts to reach new Canadians, to include youth that are otherwise not engaged currently,” she said. “We have some amazing research as to what happens with unengaged youth when we bring arts into a community. So I think that educators, artists, people working in cultural programming, people working in literacy programming, anybody that’s really working with youth, seniors, people that need to be engaged, can benefit from this session.”
Anyone interested in attending the community forum luncheon in Swift Current is requested to RSVP by March 20 by calling 306-778-2736 or by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Read 1219 times Last modified on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 14:12
Matthew Liebenberg

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