“Legend has it that the Emperor Caligula once appointed his favourite horse Incitatus to the Roman Senate. When he recently named three rejected Conservative MP candidates to the Upper House, our own prime minister didn’t go quite that far, but he ruffled more than a few feathers. It was, without question, a blatantly partisan move. But it may also have been a very clever one: With his actions, Stephen Harper has demonstrated, reductio ad absurdum, the need for Senate reform in Canada.”—Alexandre Brassard, Director of Research, Glendon Campus, York University; co-ordinator, Centre for Global Challenges.
Ok, first off I feel from being in this discussion tonight there are a few ‘positions’ which developed and I’m going to characterize those. I might be off base or mis-characterizing things, but feel free to call me on that. Also, enjoy my titles… they are barely serious.
Round One: The Decentralized Bohemia versus The Centralized Establishment.
Right off the bat there is the discussion of if we really need a centre of this nature to foster the Arts Community in the area. A number of people came in to this questioning the very heart of the idea, with a vision of a smaller, multi-building community of artists for artists, cutting out the middle men. Others support the idea of groups like Rotary intervening to aid this community by giving them a centralized space to work within, but maintaining some level of oversight and involvement.
Round Two: "Stay Happy Capitalists!" versus Gordon Gecko.
Then there is the matter of is this enterprise based on fostering art for the greater good solely or must we delve into grand capital raising actions. While all sides would agree one needs money for the place to maintain itself, the sense was there is a mild divide between those who feel the focus should be heavily on this or on the creation of art itself. It’s simply a matter of which ideal comes first rather than an outright rejection of either.
Round Three: "Solidarity Forever!" versus "A Tale of Two Cities".
Like in all things to do with Fine Art - having gone to Grenfell, one picks up on it - there are those who give a subdued sense of antipathy between the Preforming and Visual Arts. Now this was not a huge thing at the meeting, but you can always tell there are those who just want to climb up into their own tower, do their own thing and occasionally shout over their parapet to the other guy in the next tower over.
At one point in the meeting, there was a burst of clamour for what can best be described as "Peace, Free Love and Togetherness, Man". Someone always notes the creation of these petty fiefdoms and says that all artists should stick together. This is a great idea and really makes sense. In a cold, cruel world where people tend to use the Arts as a whipping boy/girl, all artists should put aside their indivdual concerns and work as a concerted unit. No offense, but I’ll be waiting for hell to freeze over first.
Round Four: The Jack-of-All-Trades versus The Special Ops Solider
Another thing to arise here is “what exactly the Rotary Arts Centre gonna be able to do?” I mean, there were constant disclaimers as to the fact these general, all-service abilities were the ideal and not at all likely, but damn… They still hug that ideal like their beloved child. If they do, eventually, have the capacity in any sense to do what they wish a question still remains. Can you have the capacity to offer everything and still, really, be the master of nothing? Will that be enough to draw artists and tourists in? Or are people looking for ‘the best’ in a particular area alone?
Well, that’s the other side in this. Does this community need, instead, a highly specialized centre? The question then becomes, how do you specialize? Further to that: Is a specialized place accessible to all artists? (no.) Is a specialized place accessible to the rest of the community? (maybe.) Then how do you balance a specialized centre with the revenue demands of the place and the need to make use of it for that public? One just can’t be sure, I don’t think.
Round Five: "Don’t Tread On Me" versus "Raising the White Flag".
Yet another thread in these long list of considerations and debates, is that of place. Rotary has immediately reached out to partners - JL Gallery, Grenfell Art Gallery, TNL, Arts and Culture Centre - and either got them on side to build this darn thing or at least know that the entire thing won’t infringe on their existing programs/space. Excellent, right? Well…
You see, the way the place is being pitched as is a medium sized, medium-capacity and ability space. But then, when you start talking about what they want to possibly do with the place, you start sounding like some existing facilities. One minute, you might hear a mild ruffle from Grenfolk, the next over feeling too much like the A&CC. Obviously, Rotary and partners wants to find a middle ground here, but how to do that is a fine, fine line to walk.
Round Six: Tourist Trap versus Community Centre.
Ok, this one should be clear. There are folks there who, while seeing the economic benefits and wishing to capitalize on them, don’t see the need to make it a purposeful tourist spot. Not to say that folks don’t want tourists, but rather that tourists should come and be brought based on the quality of the art, performance and the space itself.
Then there is the folks who, as literally suggested, go a bit Newfoundland Emporium in places and make the commercial aspect of it focused in large part of general, touristy things… rather than on the merits of the place and art. One of the cool things about The Emporium is, though, that it revels in not ‘Tacky Newfoundland’ but instead in the true soul of the province, with its amazing little finds and all sorts of bits and bobs. The ‘tacky’ stuff, however, is what is found in any museum or site of that nature across the country in addition to the sale of really cool things themed around the place itself. I think, in the end, this place will need moderate helpings of both.
Last Bit: More questions than answers, but that’s how I feel so far. More later? Perhaps. All in all, this opens an interesting discussion over this centre but also on the Arts Community in general.
Question: How the hell do you feel about all of this?
“We want to ask the 1267 regime to take Abousfian Abdelrazik off the list, … [t]hat’s a very basic demand, it’s very clear to us it can be done and we want it to be done. … With all the community support, the mainstream support from Canada’s own intelligence agencies, we feel he needs to be taken off the list. There is absolutely no reason for him to be there”—
Dolores Chew, Member of the Delegation to the UN to Remove Abousfian Abdelrazik from the Resolution 1267 Terrorist Blacklist.
hey tumblr is for hipsters and girls, which are you?
…I know it’s been a few months since you posted on Tumblr, but us general-purpose nerds are on now. I apologize, I know we’re crowding your girlie hipster space - that which you covet so dearly - and for that we are collectively sorry.
The provincial government planned to dismantle it, creating an extensive public lobbying effort that essentially saved the structure by raising awareness of its significance.
The fountain is currently the subject of a review by representatives from The Rooms.
”—Corey Hurley, The Western Star.
So what does this development mean for community organizing and community dissent in the local Corner Brook area? Until we see the actual final results of this, we can’t be certain, in my view.
But does this justify, much like the earlier TDF protest and campaign, the use of social media as a local organizing tool? Yes, yes it does. However, there was a lot more behind this than simply a bunch of folks behind their PCs. Folks engaged and continue to engage all sorts of media on this front and did some traditional take-it-to-the-streets organizing as well. So, I suppose what this shows us is that active social media engagement (literally organizing and fermenting dissent online) can have tangible benefit and is a worthwhile tool. Equally, such active online engagement is clearly superior to so called ‘clicktivism’ (where all efforts are simply passive declarations of support, which are online only).
Yes, SUN News has truly taken their insanity and inanity to new heights by attacking Arts Funding in this country… oh and pretty much accusing Miss Gillis of being a hateful unpatriotic leech on public funds. Meanwhile, Gillis is working on utilizing the Arts in means of conflict resolution, internationally.
Krista Erickson:Conservative Hack. The Arts are just not her cup of tea.