I have had the keys to one of the better-known buildings in Winnipeg for about a month now. I find myself thinking, asking questions, observing, trying things out. I find myself split between spending time in the building getting to know who inhabits it and what they do, and walking in the Exchange and its connecting neighborhoods; all because I feel privileged to have such a unique work environment and to have a hand in shaping such a great asset to the arts community and to the neighborhood. I’m eager to advance some projects; some that may seem simple (but are not) and some that are big and complex (but not really).
I commit to sharing some of those ideas with you through this blog. Sometimes I might test out a few things, see what may resonate with you and what may not. Sometimes I’ll simply share good news of something that WILL or HAS happened. Hopefully get you excited about it. Sometimes, I’ll retell stories that I’ve learned through this privileged position. Or I might share where to find these stories.
For example, I now know that 1 in 5 books published in Manitoba is form an Aboriginal writer or of Aboriginal content. Which surprised me, and encourages me, because in this era of decolonization, of reconciliation, and of unprecedented leadership from Aboriginal community members, I often find myself searching for their stories, their voice, wanting to further learn from their stories. It is encouraging to know this will be easier as more of their voices are being published.
For example, I knew that Winnipeg has a diverse and very capable group of artists engaging in filmmaking (I myself dabble in the medium from time to time). However, in attending a members’ showing at Cinemathèque I discovered how it’s often the incubator programming of the Winnipeg Film Group that makes space and creates opportunities for these artists to create. The result is that our landscape and our stories are being captured and retold to an audience. From Mcfadyen park tennis players to bilingual cultural divides. Our unique perspective shows beautifully on screen.
For example, For example, For example.
The list could go on. The point is space for art matters. Space for the artists, creators of art, matters. I knew that. I think I did. But I don’t think I appreciated it, for that stable space available to you means that you are not tied to it, and have the freedom to adventure out. You get to take pieces of what happens all around you and make something of it. You then can go back out there, and re-offer it to the public sphere.
That’s transformative. That’s empowering. And that it why I feel privileged to have the keys to this building. I will foster what I have felt in the last month so that everyone feels that Artspace is a welcoming, safe and creative space for them, for you. I welcome your ideas on how I might do that.
So, maybe for a first time, maybe not a first time, but not in a long time, and definitely not a last time, I wish you: Aanin, Welcome, Bienvenue!
NB: it is my intent to include a piece of local art as part of these blogs. This week’s feature is from the mind of Solumund Macpherson and his group Dirtbag Philosophy film. His recent Super8Film Festival project “Crime of Passion” can be viewed for free via vimeo.com/193854750 . Enjoy.