The arts continue to eek out their moments in the city of Calgary, more so with the Calgary 2012 initiative and the injection of funding in support of young visionaries in the city. If we don’t wish to see our artists leave for larger centers (Montreal and Vancouver), we have to provide for the opportunities for them to produce and celebrate their forms here at home.
I, for one, think that emerging artists need our support. Many artists leave the University of Calgary with degrees in dance, art, or theater, but then struggle to find opportunities that are local. For an example, Decidedly Jazz Dance Works, while well-established, seems to hold a monopoly within the city and draws dancers into a professional program that holds promise for a very limited number of dancers and only after a huge financial sacrifice. Dance, like all of the fine arts in our city, needs to have venues of expression, opportunities and somehow, a monetary reward. So many of our artists absorb the cost of providing the public with entertainment, on their own. Choreographers pay their dancers first.
I know that this discussion opens a can of worms because so much of the public thinks that artists must get out and get ‘real jobs’ and ultimately, this is what they do. But I ask, at what cost to society and local culture? Calgary 2012 has provided a year of diverse artistic events and I suggest that if you have not sought these out as yet, that you get going! It is a wonderful thing to immerse oneself in the creative process, as a performer, but also as an audience.
One of the events that I enjoyed last evening was presented by Momentum Dance Collective at the Untitled Artists Society, a wrap-up event after several local performances at Stephen Avenue, Calgary Farmers’ Market, Kensington on 10th Street and the Peace Bridge. A contribution to the artistry was the music of young artist, Matt Blais and the visual art of Cayley Hanrahan. It was an inspiring evening. You can find Matt’s music here. Matt Blais | Modern Roots, Rock n Roll | Home.