ESSENTIAL ARTS THINKING GROUP

Essential Arts Thinking (EAT) Group is a multi-disciplinary community thinking group put together with the objective of building a vision for the future of the arts sector in Kingston.

 

 


Screenshots of presentations from the Fall 2020 discussions.
[Image Description: Six screenshots from online presentations. The top left screenshot shows an orange and green graph entitled “During CERB”. The top middle screenshot shows some purple numbers underlining a funding model. The top right screenshot shows artist Kemi King as she introduces her presentation. The bottom left screenshot shows a graph about leadership made out of three blue and green circles. The bottom middle screenshot shows a definition of “grassroots” typed on a green background. The bottom right screenshot shows three photos of political street art (peace not war, George Floyd memorial, Donald Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty) and a capture from the Handmaid’s Tale.]

 

Summer 2020: Establishing Priorities and Creating the Framework

The first phase of the EAT Group was a series of three discussions over the summer of 2020. During these, a group of local grassroots artists, cultural workers, and activists were invited to share their vision for the future of the local arts sector. These visions interlaced, regrouped at places, and faced the same direction. Through sharing experiences, barriers and dreams, it was clear that there was a shared vision, and collective priorities soon started emerging.

From the discussion minutes, we were able to divide these priorities within 3 different categories:

Making money, making art

– Funding needs to be accessible to grassroots, community-based  artists and emerging artists;
– Funding needs to be distributed more equitably within the arts sector;
– Funding needs to encourage risk taking and pay artists for their creative exploration;
– CERB proved that Basic Income would allow artists to make a livable wage, have more time to make art, and finally afford the freedom to explore new creative models, take risks, and innovate;
– Artists do not want to return to normal.

Arts Commons

– Public, free and community-based art need to be prioritized at this moment;
– Grassroots models of collaboration and community-led initiatives need to be valorized and adopted;
– The traditionally valorized frameworks are not working and are reproducing various systems of oppression (colonialism, racism, classicism, sexism, ableism, ageism);  
– Heritage and tradition cannot be the guiding principles for the arts sector.

Artists are Essential

– Art can be a comforting, inspiring, or transcendental experience and makes for a healthier, tighter community;
– Art is necessary for our collective well-being, artists must be supported accordingly;
– There needs to be more resources and accessible spaces dedicated to community-oriented art projects.


Fall 2020: Dreaming up New Models

In the Fall, we decided to invite new people in the room and focus on expanding on the priorities and materializing what implementing this vision could look like. We invited local artists from the summer discussions, as well as “visiting” speakers, to do 12 minute presentations during our meetings. The presentations served as case-studies to prompt further imaginings. We followed the categories from the first phase and invited artists to the following three discussions:

1. Artists making a living: How to move towards a just economy
Presentation from visiting artist Laure Catalan: The “Intermittence du Spectacle”. 
Presentation from local artist Eric Williams: CERB’s Impact on a Grassroots Collective. 

Key quote: “Artists should have the freedom to take risks.”

2. Collectivity and abundance: Can the arts reframe our relationships?
Presentation from visiting artist and KAC consultant Laurel Green: Radical Friends, Lateral Mentorship and New Models of Leadership.
Presentation from local artist Kemi King: Will you accept my invitation of Nepantla ?

Key quote: “It is time we move from an ‘ego-system’ to ecosystem”

3. Artists are essential: A discussion around collective well-being
Presentation from visiting artist Shannon Brown: Art in Community, a Discussion on Wellness.
Presentation from local artist Jill Glatt: Tending to the Grassroots; Community-centred Art as Collective Care and Empowerment.

Key quote: “Ask your community what it needs. How can art serve others? How can we work together to make art we all need?”

 

Winter 2020: Sharing the Vision

Now that the framework from this Summer has been populated by the imaginings of the Fall, we think it’s time we share the artists’ vision with the rest of the community! Join us for our online public event:

Artists are Essential: Voices from Kingston’s Arts CommunityFriday 4th December, 2-3:30PM, on Zoom.

Join the Kingston Arts Council (KAC) for a creative exchange around the vital role artists play in our community. The KAC’s Essential Arts Thinking (EAT) Group, a multi-disciplinary community, has spent 8 months tackling big questions about what it means to make, gather, and share artistic practice today. How are artists essential to our community’s well being? What do artists need to thrive? As we navigate this moment of uncertainty, where do we go from here? 

We believe that artists are essential, and they have built a vision for the future of the arts sector in Kingston. You’re invited to connect with the value of creativity, lend your voice, and leave with a head full of brave ideas. Featuring presentations by local artists and EAT Group members Eric Williams, Kemi King and Jill Glatt.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO THE EVENT.

 

The EAT Group is…

Erin Ball, Craig Berggold, Terri-Lynn Brennan, Maureen Buchanan, Liam Cole, Barb Danielewski, Liam Fenton, Jillian Glatt, Niq Gryphon, Tracey Guptill, Vicki Hargreaves, Mariah Horner, Sue Moore, Ramneek Pooni, Eric Williams, Aida Sulcs, Brandon Liesen, Deena Jacobs, Emily Steele, Rachel Shaen, Connor Price-Kelleher, Kemi King, Selina Chiarelli, Kelsey Pearson, Kristen Leboeuf, Paul Smith, Maureen Barnes,  Tyler Quincy Yan and William Carroll. Visiting artists were Laure Catalan, Laurel Green and Shannon Brown.

 

We’re grateful for the time and energy of participants. We are also grateful for their trust in sharing with us their visions, dreams and wildest wishes.

 

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