Launch of Arts Alive! Québec
ELAN launched the Arts Alive! Québec (AAQ) project at the Rialto Theatre in Montréal with a full house of partners from many regions of Québec. Growing directly out of the ACCORD project, Arts Alive! Québec became a major project for ELAN, lasting five years and building enduring relationships with arts communities across Quebec. The AAQ events, and the media buzz generated by the events, provided a huge boost for thriving arts communities outside of Montreal that might otherwise be overlooked.
AAQ brought together numerous community organizations and artists, many of them working on a volunteer basis, to host a summer festival for performance and visual arts. Six community cultural weekends were produced in Hudson, Quebec, Knowlton, Huntingdon, Wakefield and Montreal’s West Island. ELAN also partnered with RIDEAU, an arts presenters’ network, to host a workshop and information session. Schmoozers were held in Montreal Fringe and the Quebec Drama Federation in June, and with the Quebec Writers’ Federation in October.
The regional mini-festivals featured headliners from Montreal like Motel Raphaël, Plants and Animals, and Kim Richardson, alongside popular local artists and productions. The first year of AAQ received much media coverage including The Montreal Gazette, Brome County News, Hudson’s Your Local Journal, La Presse and CBC, which was AAQ media sponsor. CBC reported on regional events and published multimedia features on Arts Alive! Québec.
Arts Alive! Québec press conference at the Rialto Theatre. Front left to right: Jeanette Kelly (CBC), Tina Bye (Grove Hall), Terry O’Shaughnessey (Greenwood), Barry McCullough (Morrin Centre), Blair McKay (Hudson), Laura Teasedale (Townships), Carson Tharris (Wakefield), Mara McCallum (Fairburn), Kerstin Petersson (Wakefield), Heather Margraf (Hudson), and Sacha Dmytruk (website). Back row, left to right: Hoffman Wolff (Morrin), Nik Pynes (Knowlton), Kalina Skulska (Hudson), James Parry (Hudson), Mark Bye (Grove Hall), Luc De Tremmerie (Huntingdon MRC); Guy Rodgers, David Sherman, and Nancy Lee
Photo by: Michael Towe
Market Access: Visual and Performing Arts #1
In 2015, ELAN launched two initiatives aimed at connecting artists with promotional strategies and leaders in their disciplines. ELAN received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts—as part of the Council’s new Market Access initiative—to develop the first iteration of the Visual Arts Market Access project, and the Performing Arts Market Access (PAMA) project, which would be fully realized between 2016-18.
ELAN’s study for PAMA found that English-speaking performing artists in Quebec faced unique market access barriers such as the wide dispersal of potential English-speaking audiences throughout Quebec, a lack of coverage or integration between English and French-language media, and, especially in the case of theatre, the lack of incentive for mainstream presenting organizations to support English-language performances. Based on needs assessment surveys conducted by ELAN, the Performing Arts Market Strategy focused in particular on providing opportunities for training and touring, with the intent to build a touring network.
The Visual Arts Market Access project took a similar approach by inviting gallerists from Boston and New York City to come to Montreal: Scott Zieher (co-owner with his wife Andrea Smith-Zieher of ZieherSmith Art Gallery in Chelsea, NY), John Thomson (cofounder of Foxy Production in Chelsea, NY), and Camilo Alvarez (owner, director, and preparatory of Samsøn in Boston, MA). The gallerists met artists and visited artists’ studios (as selected by a three-person jury), and shared observations on the art scenes in their respective cities. During a panel discussion at Oboro organized by ELAN, the gallerists spoke about shifts in exhibiting and promoting artwork, including an increase in online exhibition and cataloguing, institutional models offering artists an alternative to commercial models of exhibition, and exhibiting in art-fairs or rural areas.
Panel Discussion Visual Arts Market Access project. Left to right: Hope Peterson (Project Manager), Scott Zieher (ZieherSmith Gallery – NYC), John Thomson (Foxy Production – NYC), and Camilo Alvarez (Samson Projects – Boston) at Oboro Studio.
Photo by: Guy Rodgers
In 2015, ELAN partnered with Diversité Artistique Montréal (DAM) on a special issue of TicArtToc that looked at language diversity in Quebec. The special edition, which borrowed ELAN’s previous project title—Made au Québec—explored linguistic and cultural diversity in Montreal arts by profiling numerous English-speaking artists, while also tackling questions and stigmas around bilingualism and the place of English-language identity in Quebec.
Guy Rodgers speaking at launch of Diversité Artistique Montréal’s launch of TicArtToc magazine devoted to English Speakers – Made au Québec. (Theatre Ste Catherine)
Photo by: Adriana GarciaCruz
ELAN also collaborated on a panel on cultural diversity and a networking event as part of the Lundi Pluriel series, in partnership with MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), Diversité Artistique Montréal (DAM) and Culture Montréal.
“Deborah Forde, executive director of the Quebec Drama Federation (QDF) spoke about the QDF as well as about the challenges faced by visible minorities in the theatre world. She highlighted the “survival of culturally diverse arts, art, and people”, and emphasized the need to make “alliances and build a collective force” to meet this aim.
–“Diversity and Discussion” from The McGill Daily, January 2015.
Grant-writing workshops have been one of ELAN’s most popular services over the years. In 2015, ELAN partnered with Youth Employment Services (YES) Montreal and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) to provide information for ELAN’s members on how to access arts funding in the province.
Through 2015, the new Cultivate project funded by Canada Council for the Arts developed and presented grant-writing workshops to spread Montreal artists’ expertise. The Canada Council’s new program supported Official Language Minority Arts Communities by funding one-time activities that would encourage their artistic practices, professional development, knowledge-sharing, and partnerships. In partnership with YES Montreal, ELAN project manager June Park prepared a comprehensive grant-writing skills workshop delivered in Morin Heights (Laurentians), Chelsea (West Quebec), Huntingdon (Chateauguay Valley), Hudson (Montérégie), Sherbrooke and Knowlton (Eastern Townships), Quebec City, and Montreal (for culturally diverse artists).
June Park’s Grant writing workshop in Chelsea.
Photo by: Unknown (Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are the photographer. We would love to credit you!)
Industry Canada Tourism Study
ELAN’s work on the ACCORD Project revealed a rich cultural life in several regional communities that contain all the ingredients to encourage a thriving tourism industry. By 2015, projects like RAEV (Recognizing Artists: Enfin Visibles!) and Made au Québec had made important strides in gaining due recognition for the contributions of English-speaking artists to Quebec’s cultural landscape.
The Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) released a report in 2014 stating that “tourism represents a major area of opportunity for development within English-speaking communities in Quebec.” ‘CEDEC remains part of an ambitious pan-Canadian tourism plan to attract 5.7 million visitors to Canada, create 46,900 jobs, and add $5.2 billion to the economy. CEDEC’s priority is to ensure that Quebec’s English-speaking community plays a strong role in that plan, and ELAN’s priority is to ensure that arts and culture is a key component.’
With funding provided by Industry Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ELAN conducted a tourism study that analyzed existing opportunities and obstacles, interviewed regional artists and service providers, suggested future activities and partners, and proposed a pilot project and future research. Results were presented at the 84th Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas) conference.
Durham County Poets at Grove Hall, Huntingdon, Arts Alive! Québec.
Photo by: Guy Rodgers