By Charles C. Smith, Project Lead, Cultural Pluralism in Performing Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO)
Over the past four years, CPAMO has been connecting presenters with ethno-racial and Aboriginal artists and arts organizations. Our efforts are continuing and we particularly want to set up opportunities for presenters to get a better understanding of these artists, their forms of creativity, and their significance and importance to performance in Ontario. To enhance this work, CPAMO will be convening a number of sessions to enable Aboriginal and ethno-racial artists to speak about these issues and to showcase their work as part of this presentation. While these artists are interested in sharing why they do what they do, they also want to learn from presenters about the presenting ecology, particularly how decisions on choosing performers happen, the criteria and processes for this and how they can become involved in these things.
In considering this, at one of our meetings the idea of an Artist Café was suggested and we listened. We are in the process of formulating a number of collaborative and informative sessions geared at bringing artists with presenters, Arts Service organizations and funders in a informal setting to engage with the art making process. The café will provide a forum for not only networking but feedback opportunities as CPAMO continues to support the development of meaningful relationships in the arts industry. Artists and Arts organizations will get to understand the process for proposal submissions while learning more about the development of the artistic product that presenters are looking for. The hope is simple, the stigma attached to presenter as inaccessible to culturally specific artists will be understood, while a platform for artistic engagement fostered while enhancing the understanding of the ‘’ in terms of submission of proposals for performances / presentations by said presenters.
As part of this project, CPAMO is currently in conversation with folks at the Pan AM Games, Luminato, Theatre Ontario, CanDance Network, Prologue to the Performing Arts, the Canadian Dance Assembly and the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. Along with presenter members of CCI – Ontario Presenting Network, representatives of these organizations and other arts services organizations, will be invited to be part of these Artists’ Cafes.
Currently, we’re looking to convene three such sessions this year to focus on dance, music and theatre. Look for news of these in the coming months for April, June and sometime in the fall!