What will you remember most about 2021?
Much of it was eminently forgettable as COVID-19 dragged into a second year and the arts and culture sector was the last to return to anything resembling pre-pandemic levels of activity. The absence of live artistic stimulation – on both sides of the stage –forced us to fill our hours in different ways and our minds with different thoughts. Most of us have concluded that the pre-pandemic ‘good old days’ were not so great. For decades it has been getting more difficult to earn a living in the arts. We have become 24/7 multi-taskers – creators, producers and promoters – struggling to work harder and longer for decreasing results, not to mention lower incomes and increasing precarity on side-jobs.
I don’t want to end the year sounding like the Grinch – although if there were a contest for Year-of-the-Grinch, 2021 would be a serious candidate – but the pandemic has forced us to stop and take stock of our world.
A simple return to normalcy is not our best option. We would be wiser to seize this disruption as an opportunity to do things differently and better, which will require coordinated efforts by artists supported by arts service organizations and arts councils.
ELAN and sister organizations like the Quebec Writers’ Federation and the Quebec Drama Federation can play an important role but artists and cultural workers have to be actively engaged in the work. That will be a project for 2022.
This has been a year of surprises and stress, delays and detours. I wish all ELAN members and friends a safe, happy holiday. And I hope that in January we can announce a new Executive Director to work with ELAN’s staff and board team on the many tasks that lie ahead.
See you in 2022,
Guy Rex Rodgers
Interim Executive Director