Wednesday, November 26, 2008
CITY and ARTS
Monday evening I went to the City of Hamilton Arts Awards presentation ceremony with my friend Wilma. Perhaps because I was there as a former recipient, and had no special anticipation, I listened to the speeches a little closer.
The presentation was MCed by Councillor Bob Bratina, a musician and radio personality in his own right. Between his comments throughout the evening and Mayor Fred Eisenberger's opening address, we were given to understand how proud and supportive City Hall is of the arts community. Hamilton, in changing from the old Steeltown image, is being touted as a cultural Mecca, the exciting place to be. Rah, rah, rah! I'd like to jump on that bandwagon, but I've been there before.
Granted there are good (maybe great) things happenong artistically in the city. This is happening because of the artists, and in some ways in spite of city hall. City Hall provides accolades and some crumbs. Where is the energy, the planning, the money? It has to come from the artists themselves.
It happened with Barton Street. It happened with the Tivoli. Make plans, get support. But anything concrete is never there.
And writers? We were so well represented that no award was given this year. We are not the legislators, Shelly, unacknowledged or not. Poets especially are prophets crying out in the modern wilderness. Read Ginsberg, Acorn. They knew.
So we continue to howl.