The arts re­lat­ing to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, fo­rum

Waterloo Region Record - - Arts & Life - MARTIN DE GROOT Martin de Groot writes about lo­cal arts and cul­ture each Satur­day. You can reach him by email at

Last week I wrote about a pro­duc­tive but sparsely at­tended “Cul­tural Ex­change 7.0,” the Kitch­ener all-can­di­dates ses­sion or­ga­nized by TheMu­seum on Oct. 3.

Ac­cord­ing to what I heard in re­sponse, a lot of peo­ple in the arts com­mu­nity sim­ply didn’t know about it. So here are four up­com­ing events that may also not be as widely known as they de­serve to be. There’s no ex­plicit con­nec­tion with the elec­tion but they all touch on the theme of how the arts re­late to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

To­gether, these events are a re­mark­able con­gru­ence. Is there some­thing in the air?

First up, on Mon­day, Oct. 15, start­ing at noon, there’s a “tech com­mu­nity en­gage­ment ses­sion” at the Kitch­ener lo­ca­tion of the Ac­cel­er­a­tor Cen­tre on Gaukel Street, which is be­ing pro­moted as “a spe­cial event and im­por­tant up­date about the fu­ture of The Mu­seum and arts and cul­ture in our re­gion.”

This is part of an on­go­ing se­ries of stake­holder con­sul­ta­tions de­signed to in­form ex­pan­sion plans and form col­lab­o­ra­tions around a “vi­sion for a bet­ter, big­ger, bolder crit­i­cal mass of arts and cul­ture in down­town Kitch­ener.”

A sim­i­lar event geared to­ward the broader arts com­mu­nity is in the works for date in Novem­ber. De­tails will be an­nounced soon.

Mean­while, at the Kitch­ener Water­loo Art Gallery on Tues­day, Oct. 16, the Al­liance for a Grand Com­mu­nity, a net­work of “se­nior lead­ers in sev­eral arts and cul­ture or­ga­ni­za­tions in Water­loo Re­gion,” is pre­sent­ing “Panel Dis­cus­sion: Creative In­dus­tries — Eco­nomic Driv­ers.” The fo­cus here is on “the im­pact of arts and cul­ture on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.” The pan­el­lists are Ken Coit, pro­gram man­ager of pub­lic art and projects for the City of Hamil­ton; Crys­tal El­lis, se­nior eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, County of Welling­ton; Tony LaMan­tia, pres­i­dent and CEO, Water­loo Re­gion Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion; and Beisan Zubi, com­mu­nity re­la­tions man­ager, Com­mu­nitech.

Kitch­ener-Water­loo Art Gallery ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Shirley Madill will host, and Andrew Ben­nett, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Kitch­ener-Water­loo Sym­phony (KWS), will serve as mod­er­a­tor.

On Thurs­day evening, Cather­ine Fife and Laura Mae Lindo, who rep­re­sent the Water­loo and Kitch­ener Cen­tre elec­toral dis­tricts, re­spec­tively, in the pro­vin­cial Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly, are host­ing a dis­cus­sion called “Strength­en­ing the Creative Econ­omy: Plan­ning for the Fu­ture.”

The fo­cus is on “show­cas­ing the ad­van­tages of in­vest­ing in the arts and the ben­e­fits it can cre­ate for the econ­omy and the peo­ple of Kitch­ener-Water­loo.”

The pan­el­lists are Is­abel Cis­terna, arts ad­vo­cate; Jan­ice Jo Lee, artist; and Dr. Kate Ry­bczynsk, de­part­ment of eco­nomics, Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo.

The ses­sion starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Gov­er­nance In­no­va­tion in Water­loo.

This is in the week lead­ing up to the elec­tion on Mon­day, Oct. 22. Two days later, on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 24, there’s “Am­plify Cul­ture Sum­mit 2018,” — a full day of of­fer­ings “cel­e­brat­ing cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion.”

A key ob­jec­tive is to fa­cil­i­tate con­nec­tions among “re­searchers, artists, de­sign­ers, and creative in­dus­try work­ers de­vel­op­ing cut­ting-edge ideas in art and tech­nol­ogy.”

This is a City of Water­loo ini­tia­tive. The venue, once again, is the Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Gov­er­nance In­no­va­tion.

The lineup of pre­sen­ters in­cludes Jesse Ste­wart, com­poser, per­cus­sion­ist, vis­ual artist, re­searcher, and ed­u­ca­tor; Sage Paul, Artis­tic Di­rec­tor of In­dige­nous Fash­ion Week Toronto; and Chris­tine Leu, co-founder of the mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary arts and cu­ra­tion prac­tice, LeuWebb Projects in Toronto.

The pro­gram in­cludes six peerto-peer ses­sions ex­plor­ing the themes of be­long­ing, in­no­va­tion and place­mak­ing, with par­tic­i­pa­tion from Meg Les­lie, ceramic and mo­saic artist; Darin White, Lau­rier Li­brary Mak­erspace; Laura Peart McBride, Cen­tral Fairies Art and Pho­tog­ra­phy; and many oth­ers, in­clud­ing, once again, Andrew Ben­nett, who is lead­ing a ses­sion with his KWS col­league Chris­tine Tolton.

The event wraps up with din­ner at 6 p.m., in­clud­ing key­note speaker Richard Evans, co­founder of Em­cArts, a non­profit con­sult­ing group orig­i­nally from the U.K. and now based in the U.S. He’ll talk about “the wide­spread changes in how peo­ple want to en­gage with artis­tic ex­pe­ri­ences and how artists, or­ga­ni­za­tions, and com­mu­ni­ties can re­de­fine our roles in this new era of en­gage­ment.”

The Am­plify Sum­mit is open to ev­ery­one, for a nom­i­nal fee of $25. The other three events are free. Reg­is­tra­tion for all four is through themu­ water­

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