March 22nd, 2012
Super STAR Judy Marcelline spent a rainy day at a recent art-culture-community smash up in Toronto….
The weather bureau had predicted a snowstorm, but instead we got rain. Lots of it!
Yet I still fought to get up and out that morning to attend the “Neighbourhood Arts Network: EMERGENCE – A Symposium on Community Arts Practice” at Queens Quay. I had been on the waiting list for a month and got the invite two days before; and I am so glad I attended.
“EMERGENCE – A Symposium on Community Arts Practice” was a wonderful opportunity to experience the passion of artists working with, and in the community, to build socially conscious and creative programs, with the assistance and guidance of the Neighbourhood Arts Network, Artscape and the Toronto Arts Foundation.
It was not your typical day of attending workshops and taking notes. The morning began with a rousing keynote by storyteller Laura Simms and performances by Lee Maracle and Mahlikah Awe’ri . After lunch, we were again entertained by the internationally infused voice and rhythms of Amai Kula, revolutionary poet Golshan Abdmoulaie and experienced a dancer and audience participation performance by the Anandam Dance Theatre. Along with the great panels and networking sessions, the day also included awards that were given to celebrated programs, recognizing their hard work and dedication.
Inspiration from art and performance in Toronto is something I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. So it was equally gratifying to see the collaboration between community artists, business and government as they presented and produced creative activities and resources to help build and sustain successful neighborhoods in Toronto.