Guy Rodgers with John Hobday (Independent Arts Consultant who has worked for Canada Council for the Arts, the Samuel & Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation, CBC, and more) at State of the Arts in 2011.
Photo by Dimitri Nasrallah
Fifteen years ago, the Quebec Arts Summit brought together 150 artists and cultural workers to take stock of an English-language cultural renaissance that had become noticeable after the referendum of 1995. The rapidly growing number of English-artists choosing to live and work in Quebec was a revelation, and the inspiration for ELAN’s creation. Seven years later, in 2011, ELAN organized State of the Arts, a three-day gathering of artists and cultural workers from all disciplines and from many regions of Quebec. Principle activities took place at la Société des arts technologiques (SAT), where 100+ community leaders discussed challenges and opportunities, debated strategies and brainstormed innovative ideas. Satellite activities took place at Centaur Theatre, the launch of the book Minority Report: An Alternative History of English-Language Arts in Quebec, and a series of thought-provoking panel discussions at la Maison du Conseil des arts de Montréal.
In February and March, ELAN is hosting a new edition of State of the Arts. The emphasis is on diversity and inclusion. At our 2011 event, our priorities were to connect with younger artists, newly emerging disciplines, and artistic communities outside Montreal. In 2019, project manger Farah Fancy has expanded the consultation format to include small group discussions and personal consultations around Quebec to engage a more diverse group of people in the conversation. With the assistance of Emily Enhorning, ELAN’s Membership Coordinator, Farah has also prepared two short surveys that we encourage you to take. One of the surveys is for individual artists living in Quebec and the other is for arts and cultural organizations. Each survey will only take a few minutes to complete.
The English-speaking arts community in 2019 is distinctly different than it was 15 years ago. ELAN was founded by artists whose references were rooted in 20th century issues of official languages and historical tensions between the two solitudes. That has been a significant part of our mandate and we have made significant progress. The 21st century has brought new challenges and opportunities. This edition of State of the Arts signals a turning point for ELAN, in part a generational transition, and in part a valuable updating of ELAN’s mandate and mission for current and future members. We hope you’ll be part of it.