Sunday, December 05, 2010

Explaining an Arts Non-Profit

This video would be funny if it weren't so sadly true. I have had this conversation so many times, not only with audience members but regrettably with too many arts board members.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Odyssey — a Wind Ensemble Concert

Silverthorn Symphonic Winds Presents Odyssey — a Wind Ensemble Concert
Featuring Artist in Residence Peter Stoll

Silverthorn Symphonic Winds (SSW), under the direction of Andrew Chung, presents "Odyssey — a Wind Ensemble Concert" featuring 2010/2011 Artist in Residence Peter Stoll, who will perform as soloist on clarinet and saxophone. Join us for a musical journey from the banks of Newfoundland to the streets of Harlem, from the rhythms of the Middle East to the melodies of Russia, from Celtic simplicity to Parisian sophistication. Featured soloist Peter Stoll will perform Rossini’s “Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and Band,” Hagen’s “Harlem Nocturne” for saxophone and band, and Morrissey’s “Interlude for Clarinet and Band.” Compositions by Copland, Hazo, Cable, Reed, and Ellerby will complete the programme.

The concert takes place on Sunday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m. at the Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, ON. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors, and can be purchased online at or by phone at 905.787.8811.

The SSW Artist in Residence Program, established this year, offers an opportunity for ensemble members and the general public to benefit from the expertise of an established, professional musician. The 2010/2011 Artist in Residence, Peter Stoll, will be the featured soloist and host at the two Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts concerts, and will offer a free public masterclass (date to be announced) for adult and high school aged clarinetists. Throughout the season, he will attend six SSW rehearsals to provide coaching for woodwinds and to offer general feedback to the ensemble as a whole. In addition to enhancing the skills and musicality of ensemble members, Peter’s solo performances and engaging manner will be a delight for audiences.

Known for his virtuoso energy on stage, Peter Stoll was a prizewinner in the International Clarinet Society Competition, Solo Clarinetist with the World Orchestra of Jeunesses Musicales in Berlin and Vienna, and has been a guest clarinet soloist with orchestras in Canada, the U.S., and Russia. He has performed as a saxophone soloist with the Toronto Philharmonia, the Orillia Wind Ensemble, and with choirs in the Toronto and Ottawa area. A frequent performer of new music, Peter has traveled to Germany, New York City, Finland, and Lithuania with the ERGO ensemble. He is a core member of the Talisker Players, Principal Clarinetist of the Toronto Philharmonia, and a member of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. More information can be found on his website at:

Founded in September 2006, Silverthorn Symphonic Winds brings classical and contemporary repertoire for wind ensemble to audiences in Toronto and York Region. The all-volunteer ensemble is characterized by exceptional dedication and a commitment to the highest possible level of performance. The musicians, who are all chosen by audition, range from highly accomplished amateurs to semi-professional musicians. Silverthorn Symphonic Winds is supported by a generous grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation. For more information, visit:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Necessary Angel 2010-11 Season


Media refer: Dianne Weinrib / DW Communications 416.703.5479


Toronto, October 28, 2010 – The 2010-2011 Necessary Angel season is the company’s most ambitious to date. The season offers two shows premiering in June 2011 at Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity; a new multi-disciplinary collaboration between two seminal Canadian artists; a tour to Ottawa; and the debut of Michael Ondaatje’s first play in over two decades.

Artistic Director Daniel Brooks, along with Associate Artists Brigitte Haentjens and Graham McLaren, collaborate with some of Canada’s finest writers and creators — Peggy Baker, Evie Christie, Louise Dupré, Michael Healey, Daniel MacIvor, and Michael Ondaatje — to continue to create astonishing and thought-provoking theatre.

Divisadero: a performance, a new collaboration between Daniel Brooks and Michael Ondaatje, debuts this winter. Brooks then teams up with recent Walter Carsen Prize winner Peggy Baker and Governor General’s Award winner Michael Healey for Are You Okay, produced by Peggy Baker Dance Projects in association with Necessary Angel. In June, the company’s two Associate Artists, Graham McLaren (director of last season’s multiple-Dora-nominated Hamlet) and Brigitte Haentjens (incoming artistic director of the National Arts Centre’s French Theatre) premiere two new works commissioned by Luminato: McLaren directs a daring new adaptation of Racine’s Andromache, written by Canadian poet and novelist Evie Christie, while Haentjens brings to Toronto the English-language premiere of her acclaimed creation Tout Comme Elle, featuring a diverse cast of 50 women. Finally, completing the season is a tour of Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks’ This Is What Happens Next to Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company in May/June where it will be part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.


Divisadero: a performance

Text: Michael Ondaatje

Direction: Daniel Brooks, Necessary Angel Artistic Director

Performers: Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge

Songs: Justin Rutledge

Produced in association with The Film Farm

February 8-20, 2011, opening date to be determined

Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue, Toronto.

For tickets, call 416-504-7529

Michael Ondaatje’s adaptation of his novel Divisadero marks the author’s return to Necessary Angel after a lengthy absence. Following sold-out workshop presentations last fall (with the working title When My Name Was Anna), Ondaatje teams with director

Daniel Brooks for Divisadero: a performance. Ondaatje’s story explores themes of memory, identity, love and the grip of the past on the present; and tells of how a single event powerfully shapes the lives of two sisters. The production features original music written for the piece and performed by singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge. The ensemble cast also features Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus and Amy Rutherford. Divisadero: a performance is designed by Andrea Lundy, Alexander MacSween, and John Thompson, and is stage managed by Crystal Salverda.

Are You Okay

Written by Michael Healey

Choreographed by Peggy Baker

Directed by Daniel Brooks

Featuring Peggy Baker and Michael Healey

Produced by Peggy Baker Dance Projects in association with Necessary Angel

Previews March 1-3, 2011, opens March 4, 2011, and runs until March 13, 2011

Factory Studio Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto.

For tickets, call 416-504-9971

A new creative partnership for Necessary Angel: the company teams up with Peggy Baker Dance Projects for Are You Okay, created and performed by Peggy Baker and Michael Healey, and directed by Daniel Brooks. Born out of Baker and Healey’s attraction to – and curiosity about – each other’s work, Are You Okay is a “mutual autobiography” that asks, “Is there enough room on a small stage for a solo dance concert and an actor’s monologue to be performed simultaneously?” It explores themes of physical mastery, physical innocence, creation, destruction, re-creation, recreation, and the brutal humour of time. Are You Okay features lighting design by Rebecca Picherack and composition and percussion by Debashis Sinha.


By Jean Racine, Adapted by Evie Christie

Directed by Graham McLaren, Necessary Angel Associate Artist

Featuring Christine Horne, Arsinée Khanjian, Steven McCarthy and Christopher Morris

Commissioned and presented by Luminato

Previews June 10, 2011, opens June 11, 2011, and runs until June 19, 2011

The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto.

For tickets, TBA

Graham McLaren brings his visceral, action-based approach to Andromache, a new version of the rarely produced Racine play, written by poet and author Evie Christie. McLaren describes Christie’s bold, provocative poetry as having the ability to “thrill us in the way the 17th Century French might have felt about Racine’s ‘diamond-edged’ language.” Christie’s Andromache is a modern adaptation set in a war-torn land where obsessive love and lust lead people to do unspeakable acts. Andrea Lundy, whose lighting design for last year’s Hamlet won the Dora Mavor Moore Award, teams with McLaren again for this production. Andromache features Christine Horne, Steven McCarthy, Christopher Morris, and Arsinée Khanjian in the title role. Crystal Salverda is the stage manager.

Tout Comme Elle

Written by Louise Dupré, Translated by Erín Moure

Directed by Brigitte Haentjens, Necessary Angel Associate Artist

Featuring a diverse cast of 50 women

Produced in association with Sibyllines

Commissioned and presented by Luminato

Previews June 13, 2011, opens June 14, 2011, and runs until June 18, 2011

Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East, Toronto.

For tickets, TBA

The English-language premiere of Siminovitch Prize-winning director Brigitte Haentjens’ Tout Comme Elle is the largest production of Necessary Angel’s season as well as in its thirty-two year history. Tout Comme Elle is an exploration of the painful separation, and yet inextricable connection, between mother and daughter. Mirroring the cultural diversity of the city of Toronto, a cast of 50 actresses – representing all backgrounds, ages, and types – perform the piece that combines song and movement with a rich poetic text in a powerful expression of the female voice. A daring piece of theatre about the inevitability of loss and the eternal nature of love, Tout Comme Elle is written by acclaimed Québecoise poet Louise Dupré and translated by Governor General’s Award-winning poet and translator, and Griffin Prize nominee, Erín Moure. Kate Porter is the stage manager.

This Is What Happens Next

Created by Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks

Written and Performed by Daniel MacIvor

Directed and Dramaturged by Daniel Brooks

Previews May 24, 2011, opens May 26, 2011, runs until June 12, 2011

Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington Street West, Ottawa.

To purchase tickets, call 1-613-236-5196

After a successful run at the prestigious Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina this past summer, Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks’ This Is What Happens Next tours to Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company where it will be part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. The show is the most recent collaboration between one of the most potent and influential partnerships in Canadian theatre. It has been called “a genius... high-octane blend of autobiography, anecdote, philosophical musing and fairy-tale fantasy,” by the Montreal Gazette, while the Toronto Star calls it “a very rich piece of theatre that will keep you guessing till the last second…MacIvor is going into new and uncharted territory.” Rob Harding is the stage manager.

About Necessary Angel:

Founded in 1978 and based in Toronto, Canada, Necessary Angel has been an influential and original presence on the national and international theatre scene for over 30 years. Having produced over 50 productions, including 27 world premieres and 10 North American premieres, the company is considered to be one of English Canada's most important original creation and touring organizations. Necessary Angel tours its work to prominent theatres and festivals across Canada and internationally. The company’s plays have been nominated for and have won numerous Governor General’s Awards for Drama, Chalmers Awards for Outstanding New Play, and countless Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Over the years, Necessary Angel has welcomed the participation of outstanding literary icons, including Michael Ondaatje and Timothy Findley, while also developing new work with some of Canada’s leading playwrights, including Daniel MacIvor, John Mighton, Colleen Murphy, Jason Sherman, Colleen Wagner and David Young, whose works have become acclaimed on stages around the globe.

Daniel Brooks, Artistic Director of Necessary Angel since 2003, is a prolific and versatile artist whose innovation and risk-taking have made him a leader within the Canadian cultural landscape. He has been recognized with accolades and awards throughout Canada and around the world including the inaugural Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.

For more information, visit the Necessary Angel website at

About Luminato: For 10 extraordinary days in June, Toronto’s stages, streets, and public spaces are illuminated with arts and creativity. Luminato is an annual multi-disciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, fashion, film, and more. The fifth anniversary edition of Luminato will take place from June 10-19, 2011. Programming announcements will be made in early 2011. For details, please visit

About Peggy Baker Dance Projects: Led by one of Canada's foremost modern dancers, Peggy Baker Dance Projects is dedicated to the partnership of movement and live music to enrich the art of dance, and has performed with many outstanding musicians. Peggy Baker Dance Projects’ objective in creating, producing and touring its repertoire is to reach a broad public, offering audiences a deeper appreciation of the unique beauty and power of modern dance. For details, please visit


Media refer: Dianne Weinrib / DW Communications 416.703.5479

Luminato Media refer: Laura Barron McDowell 416-368-3100 x242

Necessary Angel

401 Richmond St W

Suite 392

Toronto, Ontario

M5V 2A8

p: 416.703.0406

f: 416.703.4006

Canadian Classical Music Coalition inaugural meeting

(Rec'd from George Zukerman)

The newly formed Canadian Classical Music Coalition [Coalition Canadienne de musique classique] [CCMC] is hosting a round-table discussion on the problems of programming classical music, at 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov 8, in the Alberta Room at the Westin Hotel.

The Coalition hopes to speak with one voice on issues of urgent need and interest to all areas of classical music interest, and we expect to submit recommendations to the conference for future consideration.

Please join us to express common concerns for the future of classical music in Canada.

Here is the proposed agenda for the meeting:

Canadian Classical Music Coalition/ Coalition Canadienne de musique classique

CAPACOA Round-Table - a part of the 2010 CAPACOA conference

SUBJECT: Proposed advocacy for classical music within CAPACOA

Date: Monday, Nov. 08 Time: 2 p.m..

Place: Alberta room Westin Hotel, Ottawa

(1) Opening remarks: - a chance to lead in the revitalization of classical programming and touring . Background and reasons
(2) Creating a community of classical music from Coast to Coast to Coast.
(a) can the Coalition become a "membership" organization?
(i) staffing and funding
(ii) dues?
(iii) increasing membership
(b) what is the Coalition’s role in relation to other existing organizations?
(3) Starting with CAPACOA
(a) how can CAPACOA be encouraged to stimulate the inclusion of more classical music programmes in volunteer and facility-managed series across the nation?
(b) how can CAPACOA join in the national efforts to return CBC Radio to its mandated role as public broadcaster of classical music and otherwise encourage national broadcasting of classical content through CBC or other broadcast outlets?
(c) how can CAPACOA best support moves to maintain and strengthen the operating and touring funding needs of Canadian classical music arts organizations and artists, both at home and abroad?
(d) which organizations [national or Provincial] do we approach next?
(4) Resolutions re the above for submission to CAPACOA
(5) New business from the floor
(9) Next meeting plans and adjournment George Zukerman Rick Gambrel Barbara Scales Robert Missen

George Zukerman
2306 Harbourgreene Drive
Surrey, BC V4A 5J2
Fax (604)536-5037

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Your movie’s finally here, Tyler - Arts & Culture -

Your movie’s finally here, Tyler - Arts & Culture -

"I used to believe that being respectful of Aboriginal issues meant remaining silent—I’m not native, what right do I have? But politically correct silence permits a kind of blindness to what’s happening . . ." Andree Cazabon

Art sensitizes us to social and political issues, but sometimes the artists themselves are politicized, activated, motivated by the situations that the encounter as they create, chronicle and interpret.

Andree Cazabon has chronicled this process in a wonderful small piece in the current Macleans magazine.

I am finding the north to be a place of stark contrasts. The vastness of the sky, the quality of the light creates a shimmering landscape of beauty. The trees seem to go on forever. There are lakes that no one has named. But the social problems in these small communities are evident everywhere. I will be very interested to see the film "Third World Canada".

Thursday, September 30, 2010

PLEASE POST: September 29, 2010

Unsolicited Scripts and Project Submission Guidelines

Canadian Stage accepts unsolicited scripts and previously produced projects for consideration for production.

Founded in 1987 with the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre, Canadian Stage is one of Canada’s leading not-for-profit contemporary theatre companies. Led by Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn, Canadian Stage produces and showcases innovative theatre work from Canada and around the world, allowing its audience to encounter daring work guided by a strong directorial vision and a 21st-century aesthetic. The company prides itself on presenting trans-disciplinary work and work in translation that pushes the boundaries of form and style. The company reinforces the presence of Canadian art and artists within an international context through work that mirrors the cultural diversity of Toronto. Canadian Stage has a long-standing commitment to education and enhancement programs for the public and investing in the art form by nurturing and developing theatre professionals while producing thought-provoking theatre and quality entertainment in Toronto, one of North America’s largest theatre centres. For more information, refer to

Submissions of both scripts and trans-disciplinary projects will be accepted in hard copy format only (no electronic submissions). DVDs and support materials are welcome. Submissions are reviewed by a reading committee made up of staff, artists and community members, and each project will receive a response within six months. Please note we do not provide a critique of your script or dramaturgical feedback.

- Please provide two (2) copies of all materials including script or production project details including an outline of the play’s developmental history, artists involved and any other support materials.
- When possible, our committee members read each script blindly before looking at supplementary materials; please do not include your name on each page of your script.
- Please include a large self-addressed stamped envelope if you wish to have your materials returned.
- Our committee will review a script or project once.
- We will only review one script or project per writer per season.

Please send submissions to:
Unsolicited Script and Project Submissions
Attn: Natasha Mytnowych
Associate Director of Programming
Canadian Stage
26 Berkeley Street
Toronto, ON M5A 2W3

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

An open letter to Kevin Krueger from Headlines Theatre

Received from Headlines Theatre

An open letter to Kevin Krueger,
BC Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts

August 19, 2010

Art is the psyche of a society

Dear Minister Krueger:

I am a co-founder of Headlines Theatre (1981) and have been the Artistic Director since 1984, having worked in the professional theatre since 1975.

As I know you are aware, it has been a very difficult year: specifically for arts and culture in British Columbia, and for all social services. The devastation of current funding cuts is creating permanent damage in what used to be a healthy community. Very recently, however, the difficulty over funding cuts has escalated into a deep concern for our eroding democracy.

I am grateful to Jane Danzo, past Chair of the BC Arts Council for the courage, commitment, and integrity it took for her to resign, in order to be able to speak openly about the relationship between government and arts funding. The alarm bell she is ringing about lack of consultation, erosion of a sacred arms-length policy, and the inexplicable history of the government ignoring the advice of its own bipartisan Standing Committee on Finance to restore arts funding is essential. Her letter is available here:

There are, however, other things that need to be said:

Somehow, in the midst of deep cutting, you have found "new money" that equals $30 million dollars in Legacy Funding (over three years) to alleviate the effects of cuts to the arts. These funds must be given to the BC Arts Council with no strings attached so the Council can do its job: nurturing arts and culture in BC.

I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt, Minister Krueger. I hope that when you announced the "Arts Legacy" program "to celebrate and renew the pride and excitement British Columbians experienced during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games", with a timetable in which the programming must happen during the month of February 2011, the anniversary of the Olympics, that you somehow meant well. I am trusting that you do not fully understand the ramifications of these actions.

Government exists at arms length of the content of cultural expression across Canada for very important reasons. Cultural expression is the psyche of a society. When governments in other countries use culture for their own ideological agendas, people around the world have legitimate reasons for concern.

Freedom of thought and expression is crucial to a healthy individual and to a healthy society. Do we condone any level of government telling citizens what they can or should think in BC? I hope the answer to that question is an emphatic "no".

Humans think in metaphor. Art is a metaphoric language. Diversity of artistic expression is the manifestation of a society's psyche. When funding is available to arts and cultural groups with the caveat that the work must focus into a certain arena, as is the case with the Legacy funding, this is an attempt to control the content of artistic expression.

Throughout history, when governments have tried to control the content of cultural expression, whether from a left or a right ideology, societies have suffered terribly. All of us must be vigilant. It does not go unnoticed, for instance, that the logo of the BC Arts Council used to read "supported by the Province of British Columbia" and now reads, "an agency of the Province of British Columbia". Someone decided to change the letterhead and it must have happened as part of an ideological shift regarding the purpose of the BC Arts Council and the artistic expression it has facilitated.

We appear to have entered a frightening time in BC and all of us need to pay attention. This IS how the fragility of democracy erodes. It is a very slippery slope.

Minister Krueger, I urge you, having found $30 Million in the midst of deep and devastating cutting, to give the funds to the BC Arts Council, no strings attached, and let them do their job.


David Diamond, Artistic and Managing Director
Headlines Theatre

Headlines Theatre
323 - 350 East 2nd Ave
Vancouver British Columbia V5T 4R8

ONN Releases Brief on Bill 65: Read & Submit your comments to the Government | Ontario Nonprofit Network

ONN Releases Brief on Bill 65: Read & Submit your comments to the Government
Bill 65, An Act to revise the law in respect of Not-for-Profit Corporations, will apply to all charities and nonprofits that are incorporated under the Province of Ontario and most Ontario organizations are provincially incorporated. This is important legislation that impacts you!

Does your nonprofit organization care about:

• Calling your organization a public benefit corporation so the public can easily know your intent is to provide for the public good?

• Limiting the liability of your volunteer Directors?

• Accessing Community Bonds with credible oversight to raise funds?

• Ensuring that the threshold for annual audits is not reduced to $100,000?

• Maintaining your organization’s choice on the use of proxies?

These issues are all important amendments to Bill 65, Ontario’s proposed Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. This Act has the potential to be precedent-setting legislation that will serve the sector’s future, but this is a critical point in time as the draft Act moves into a legislative Committee for review.

The sector knows what it needs in a new legislative framework – but we must ensure the Standing Committee on Social Policy, who is reviewing the Act, hears us loud and clear.

The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) has had our Expert Committee hard at work. Attached is the brief they have prepared which ONN has submitted to the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Social Policy. Please read it over and consider how Bill 65 will impact your organization.

PLEASE consider writing a letter identifying the issues you are concerned about or even to just say you support the work of ONN and agree with the contents of our brief. It is very important they know the sector cares.

Deadline: The Standing Committee is accepting written submissions regarding Bill 65 until Thursday, August 26th at 5pm. (see contact information below)

Questions? ONN and the Canadian Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) will co-sponsor a teleconference session on Wednesday, August 18th at 10am to address your questions and concerns on Bill 65 and the written submission process.

Please register for this event (

How to Submit a Written Submission:

1. E-mail your submission to:
Katch Koch, Committee Clerk (
*The Clerk advises that while an e-copy is generally acceptable, they have in the past run into computer/network glitches where an e-mail does not reach the Committee by the deadline. Unfortunately this is the sender’s responsibility to ensure. If you send an e-copy, follow-up to ensure it was received.

2. Mail your submission to:
Katch Koch, Committee Clerk
Room 1405, Whitney Block
Queen’s Park, Toronto ON
M7A 1A2

Telephone: (416) 325-3526 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (416) 325-3526 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Facsimile: (416) 325-3505
TTY: (416) 325-3538

Upcoming Public Hearing: The Standing Committee on Social Policy will hold one public hearing for input on the current draft Act on Monday, August 23rd at 10am in Toronto. ONN recruited a number of organizations before the August 9th deadline from around the province to give 10 minute oral presentations (in person or by video conference).

Thank you for your support,

Ontario Nonprofit Network

ONN Releases Brief on Bill 65: Read & Submit your comments to the Government Ontario Nonprofit Network

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Feed the Birds, Aug 12

Fire Parade on Ward's Island July 30/10

(received from Shadowland Puppet Theatre)

The annual Ward’s Island Fire Parade takes place this Friday July 30.
Assembly and pre-parade at 8.30pm at the Ward’s Island clubhouse (straight ahead from the Ward’s dock).
Parade sets off at 8.45pm

Cross the Water. Breathe the cool Island Air. Walk the earth. Feel the fire. Experience the unbroken circle.

Music, Lanterns, Stiltdancers, Hoola-Hoopers and Fire.

Feel free to bring instruments, candle-lit lanterns, your dancing selves and your friends and families.

Shadowland is running workshops each day 10am to 6pm, making costumes, shadow images and fire sculpture. A’Rythmics band practices are Wednesday and Thursday at 7.30pm.

Boats leave the city at 6.15, 7, 7.45 and 8.30. The Ward’s Island café (wonderfully resurrected by new owners) is right by the clubhouse and the Rectory café by the Algonquin Bridge, so come over early for dinner and then join us to celebrate the Dark and the Light.

Call 416 898 0946 for any more details. For further ferry information call 416 392 8193.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Muslim & American Extremists censoring Art

In the Time magazine article Indonesia's Artists vs. Muslim Extremists,by Jason Tedjasukmana, the author decries the "Talibanization" of Art in Indonesia. He recounts a story of religious fundamentalists defacing a statue of nude women with spray paint. Government officials and police did nothing to intervene in this and other incidents within Indonesia. There is a certain sanctimonious tone to the story. "Here in the democratic West we are so much better than that" is the assumption of the article. "Our secular society does not allow the religious nutty fringe to dictate our policies toward art".... but is that true?

Earlier this month, at a virtual worlds event, in the leading edge of 3D art, an installation by Rose Borchovski was summarily ejected by organizers because the art's nude figures were in violation of the zoning restrictions in the virtual world. Last fall, Linden Lab, the creators of the Second Life virtual world caved in to pressures from American social conservatives to push "adult" content into virtual red-light districts. One would expect openness and sophistication in the high tech international community of virtual reality residents and the arts community. Instead Linden Lab seems to have chosen to "Taliban-ize" expression within Second Life more effectively than the Indonesians with spray cans.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is it the product or the process that makes for good art?

One time my husband and I took our daughter-in-law, a Chinese electrical engineer to an art show and she was frankly puzzled by the paintings. She asked, "why would you paint a landscape when you can have a much more accurate picture with a camera?" Neither the idea of preserving an artistic practice, nor any theories about the value of an individual's vision rendered in paint on canvas cut any ice with her. To her scientific mind, only the product was important, and the more efficient the process, the better.

That experience came back to me as I read an article by Ryan Blitzstein about software created by David Cope to compose music. David Cope has taken serial music to the next level, in which a computer program generates whole works based on the algorithms supplied. While there is a human factor deciding what to put in and what creations to save or accept, is this different than the decisions of a photographer? While we accept that photography can be an art, it is a very different art form from painting. Has David Cope developed a totally new art form with his "Emmy" software. Do we accept his contention that the impact of the composition on the listener is more important than the creative process of the composer; that it is "just dots on the page" and "there is no soul in the music" itself.

Is it the container or the thing contained that makes, art? Is Cope correct that a composition contains nothing but arithemetical progressions of notes and what is made of them is in the mind of the listener.

Art Spin June 30

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Great Garden Search Contest

Contest started Monday, March 1st, 2010 and will be ending Friday, May 14 at 5pm.

Show the world that Toronto is a Community Gardening leader by helping us unearth our hidden gems!

The Toronto Community Garden Network (TCGN) is pleased to announce The Great Garden Search of 2010, a contest to find community gardens across the City of Toronto. The contest includes Etobicoke, Toronto, City of York, East York, North York and Scarborough, and it will appeal to scavenger hunters, neighborhood buffs, garden enthusiasts, and anyone who likes a challenge, while at the same time helping TCGN to document all of these hidden gems.

Why this contest?

TCGN wants to put Toronto on the map as one of the world’s leaders in community gardening. In order to do that we need to show how many community gardens we have covering this entire city: Etobicoke, Toronto, City of York, East York, North York and Scarborough.

What are community gardens?

Community gardens are places where people come together to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, families, and friendships. Community gardens are run by communities for communities, and can be organized in any way that the community decides.

Personal gardens are not eligible in this contest. Gardens must involve 3 or more households and cannot be in a residential backyard.

How to Participate:

To participate in the contest look at the Community Gardens Map listed on our TCGN website. Then, walk around, use Google maps, search high and low, to find community gardens that are NOT listed on the website.

When you find new gardens email your entries to Norma Dickinson: or phone (416) 363-6441 ext. 279

In your email or phone call please include:

  • Your Name:
  • Your email or phone number:
  • Name of Garden (if applicable):
  • Location of Garden (including address if possible):
  • Nearest Intersection
  • Garden Contact Information.

How to win:

The grand prize will go to the participant who finds the largest number of gardens that are not on the TCGN website.
Bonus points will be awarded for gardens with garden contact information. i.e. garden coordinator’s name, email address, website or phone number but you must have gardener’s permission to give contact information to TCGN.

Contest Rules:

  • Anyone and everyone are welcome to participate.
  • The contest runs from March 1 - May 14, 2010.
  • Gardens must be between Steeles Avenue and Lake Ontario, and between the Rouge River and Highway 27 to be eligible.
  • If garden contact information is being provided, it must be either publicly available or the contest participant must have permission to provide it.
  • Personal gardens are not eligible. Only community gardens are eligible. Gardens must involve 3 or more households and cannot be in residential backyards.


The contest winner, and the runners up, will be announced on Monday May 17, 2010.

  • The Grand Prize is $150
  • First Runner up: two Living Food Boxes
    And additional Runners up will also win fantastic prizes such as:
  • Fiskars garden shears-titanium blade coating
  • Books - Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail, autographed by the author - and - Real Food for a Change, by Wayne Roberts
  • A Garden Essentials Gift basket - and a Book - Real Food For a Change, by Wayne Roberts
  • Own Leafy Vegetables: Complete mini garden kit with seeds and peat pellets and planters
  • A bag with Herbed Vinegars - and a Book - The Family Kitchen Garden: How to Plant, Grow and Cook Together - by Karen Liebreich, Jutta Wagner and Annette WendlandAnd
  • More fabulous prizes to be announced!

Thank you to FoodShare, Live Green Toronto, Gayla Trail, Zora Ignjatovic, and Laura Berman for generously donating these prizes.

US survey shows grantmaking fell 8.4% in 2009

The Non-profit Times reports that during 2009 the amount of grants awarded by 75,000 foundations across the USA fell 8.4 % from the prior year. This despite foundations cutting costs of their own operations. The article predicts that US foundation giving will remain flat at the current level for the foreseeable future.

New Mind Space's Pillowfight May 8

Feathers fly and teddies soar as you converge for a giant urban pillow fight! Swing and whack as you evade pillow-wielding assailants. Bring a soft pillow at 3 PM and wait for the signal. Pillow fight!

Come say goodbye to Yonge-Eglinton Square - it is being bulldozed later this year so more stores can be built.

Costumes and funky pillows encouraged :)

Pillow Fight Toronto
Yonge-Eglinton Square @ 3:00 PM
Saturday, May 8th 2010
Rain or shine! Free and all ages!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Words on the Wall, Apr. 21

To celebrate the re-issue of his groundbreaking study, Remembrance Of Patients Past (
University of Toronto Press), scholar and activist Geoffrey Reaume will conduct a walking tour of the wall surrounding the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH ) grounds at 1001 Queen St. West. He will then guide the group to the Gladstone Hotel, where he will have an on-stage conversation Ruth Ruth Stackhouse of Friendly Spike Theatre Band. Three of the installation pieces from The Story Behind The Wall, an exhibition by Workman Arts (WA) inspired by Reaume’s text, will be featured on-stage. There will be a silent auction of bricks painted by local artists. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Psychiatric Survivors Archives of Toronto (PSAT) for the purpose of purchasing commemorative plaques detailing the history of the 19th century patient-built wall and other aspects of unpaid patient labour. Marc Glassman, Executive Director of This Is Not A Reading Series, will host the evening event. – A TINARS event presented by University of Toronto Press, Gladstone Hotel, NOW Magazine,, Take Five On CIUT, Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto and Workman Arts.
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom,
1214 Queen St West, Toronto
Wed Apr 21:
8:00pm (Doors 7:30pm) $5 (Free With Book Purchase)

Silent Auction Viewing Begins
4pm, Gladstone Hotel Ballroom,
Wall Walking Tour
6pm, Main Entrance, CAMH, 1001 Queen St West
Interview / Auction
8 pm (Doors 7:30pm), Gladstone Ballroom, Gladston Hotel, 1214 Queen St. West

REMEMBRANCE OF PATIENTS PAST Historian Geoffrey Reaume remembers previously forgotten psychiatric patients in his groundbreaking study, Remembrance Of Patients Past, by examining in rich detail their daily life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane (now called the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health - CAMH) from 1870-1940. Psychiatric patients endured abuse and could lead monotonous lives inside the asylum's walls, yet these same women and men worked hard at unpaid institutional jobs for years and decades on end, created their own entertainment, even in some cases made their own clothes, while forming meaningful relationships with other patients and some staff.

Using first person accounts by and about patients - including letters written by inmates which were confiscated by hospital staff - Reaume weaves together a tapestry of stories about the daily lives of people confined behind brick walls that patients themselves built.

GEOFFREY REAUME is an associate professor in the Critical Disability Studies Graduate Program at
York University.

RUTH RUTH STACKHOUSE is a proud member of the psychiatric survivor community. She studied theater in
New York City and is currently Theatre Director of the Friendly Spike Theatre Band. A long-standing activist, she has protested against institutional confinement and the exploitation of patient labour.

THE PSYCHIATRIC SURVIVOR ARCHIVES OF TORONTO (PSAT) is dedicated to ensuring that the rich history of people who have experienced the psychiatric system is preserved for our community and the wider community as a resource from which everyone can share and learn. PSAT is a grass roots organization that is run for and by psychiatric survivors and seeks to reflect the broad diversity of views that are expressed by all people with a psychiatric history however they choose to self-identify.

THE STORY BEHIND THE WALL is a mixed-media and cross-disciplinary project created by artists of the Workman Arts Project for Scotiabank Nuitblanche 2009. Six artists chose six former patients from the
Toronto Hospital for the Insane as depicted in Geoffrey Reaume’s book Remembrance of Patients Past – Patient life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940. Their goal was to create figurative sculptures to creatively and expressively tell the stories of these individual patients from the past who have mostly been confined to a history of silence.

WORKMAN ARTS (WA) facilitates aspiring, emerging and established artists with mental illness and addiction issues to develop and refine their art form through its arts training programs, public performance/exhibit opportunities and partnering with other art organizations. As well, WA promotes a greater public understanding of mental illness and addiction through the creation, presentation and discussion of the artistic media.

For Media / Info
Geoffrey Reaume: Andrea Wilson,
PSAT Silent Auction: Andrea White,
TINARS: Chris Reed,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Arts Presentation Contracts

In the arts it sometimes seems that there are endless varieties and shades of collaboration, partnership and co-presentation agreements possible. But when I was first working in the concert department of a major orchestra, I was told that really there were only three types of presentation contracts:

1. Self-present
2. Contract of Services
3. Co-present

Most difficulties that occur, happen when the type of contract is misunderstood or all aspects of the arrangement are not defined and signed off on by both parties.

If my arts organization is "self-presenting", we are responsible for the artistic content, all the costs, raising the money for the project, marketing, and all the ticket revenues are ours. We may be presenting in a venue we own or we might be renting a venue. In a rental venue we might be subject to some house rules and we might have access to some inhouse marketing vehicles (a lobby lightbox or an e-newsletter). We need to sign a contract for the rental agreement but at no time should our self-presented concert be represented by the venue as a part of their series. If they wish to change the nature of the relationship to a co-presentation agreement, you should be looking for concessions on rent, etc.

Contract of services:
Your organization, company, church, or event is hiring the services of my arts organization. For example your church wishes my orchestra for an Easter concert. You can request specific repertoire if you are willing to pay the costs of the orchestra learning new repertoire or save money by taking our suggestions. You set the time of the concert, are responsible for all ticket sales, all revenue is yours if the event is ticketed. The orchestra is paid a flat fee that we have determined will cover our costs for the event. We will have to assure in our contract that we don't incur extra costs. The things we will need to assure in the contract are: the repertoire, start and finish times for the concert, where the orchestra can warm up and securely leave their belongings during the performance, when the orchestra can take the stage, meal arrangements for the orchestra (if applicable) and orchestra name/logo recognition on advertising and materials.

My orchestra and your choir decides to co-present an Easter concert . We will have to determine:

1. Who determines the repertoire and who pays for the rental sheet music?
2. Who pays for the hall?
3. Who is going to pay for and supervise the marketing campaign and what sign-off will be needed by the other organization?
4. How will ticket sales be divided? What about series subscribers? Are their seats included? Where will they sit?
5. How are we each going to make money? Split the sales 50/50 or some other arrangement that is equitable balanced against the cost sharing arrangement?
6. Who is responsible for rehearsal costs?
7. What spaces will each organization use in the hall and for what periods of time?

Is it really necessary to spell these things out in a contract? In my experience it is, especially in the complex arrangements of Co-presentation agreements. I have seen the following problems occur in co-presentations that were uncontracted or with a very vaguely worded agreement:

1. Misunderstandings about the amount of tickets available for sale by each organization.
2. Unhappy subscribers who thought the concert was included in their subscription but no seats for them had been negotiated.
3. One partner representing the concert as though it was theirs alone. (no agreement on sign off on marketing)
4. One partner holding up marketing with lengthy tweaks and changes, jeopardizing sales. (no time-lines for approval of marketing).
5. Last minute demands for one organization to pay the rehearsal costs of the other organization. (not clear that each was responsible for their own costs).
6. One organization changing the repertoire and/or time of concert without consultation, confusing artists, public, and rendering promotional campaign invalid. (repertoire and time of concert was not spelled out in contract, nor that such would be by mutual agreement only)
7. And frequent disputes about smaller issues: sheet music rental costs, lobby sales, sponsor signage.

While it is hard to think of everything, I hope this gets any new arts manager asking the right questions about presentation contracts. If you spell out all the obvious issues and finish with a clause that suggests how any new issues will be handled, "at the discretion of X" or "by mutual agreement" you should minimize conflict.

The worst situations have occurred when the parties totally fail to understand the nature of the contract. I once inherited a rather vague co-presentation agreement with a choir. Not too far into the process of planning the concert I discovered that the choir thought the contract was a "contract of services"in relation to what money they expected from us (all their rehearsal costs and music costs covered) and was a "self-present" in terms of their marketing and ticket sales. They had put the concert on their subscription season (exhausting most of their share of the tickets with no additional revenue for them) and had gone on to sell more tickets, double-dipping their ticket share and cutting into our potential revenues. Basically they wanted it both ways, and that's not how the world works.

If the fundamental nature of the agreement is clear, and the large issues are settled, it is not hard to negotiate solutions to smaller issues as they arise.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Puppetry Exploratory Laboratory Deadline Extended to Monday Feb. 1, 2010

Are you an artist, performance artist, animator, filmaker, multimedia artist, dancer, or choreographer who would like to be able to integrate puppetry into their art work but need some hands on skills?

Bring your project ideas to the Puppetry Exploratory Laboratory!

The deadline for this almost free learning opportunity (materials fee required) has been extended until Monday. This is the last chance to apply this season!

The online application is available at:

New Mindspace Invitation to Make Snow Lanterns

ReinventWinter presents: Snow Lanterns

At Dufferin Grove park, an assembly of people will converge on the snowpile created by the skating rink for the purposes of sculpting/building lanterns for candle light. It should be a fun and creative time.

The act of snow lantern making takes advantage of the natural opportunities provided by a cold climate. Examples of this winter celebration can be seen in Northern regions of Finland, Japan and elsewhere.

Join us in establishing this fantastic tradition in Toronto by building your very own snow lanterns.

Dufferin Grove Park
Friday January 29th
7:00pm - 12:00am
Bring: gloves, sculpting tools (if desired), positive attitude.
Provided: Candles, Snow

See the beautiful potential on the Facebook event:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Would your arts "entry" job be a fit for those looking for an arts "exit" job?

When organizations are thinking about staffing an arts position on a tight budget, they often cast the position as an "entry-level" position because of the parttime nature, low salary, lack of job security and no-benefits nature of the position. Sometimes this judgement is made without consideration of the demands of the job description. In some cases the position IS a great fit for a newly graduated student. In other cases, although few hours are demanded, the skill set needed is varied and requires on-the-job experience for success.

If an organization needs experienced grantwriting, financial management/budgeting, and arts marketing savey, they are unlikely to find that in an entry level staff person. It takes a few years of working in an effective team setting to learn these highly specialized skills. A great fit for such an organization may be an arts worker at the other end of the spectrum, easing into retirement or exiting full time arts administration in order to work on their own artistic or entrepreneurial projects.