March 1, 2018
"We need to advocate harder and encourage understanding, however, for those who don’t inherently see the connections between art and how we live, don’t think the arts are important and “not a part of my life”."
~ Cheryl Taylor, President of Okotoks Arts Council
These are very challenging times for the arts in Alberta. During difficult financial circumstances, we must be as creative and innovative as possible to continue to support our artists, promote and educate around the arts with fewer resources as we all continue to watch our bottom line. Approximately 20% of Albertans understand that the arts provide in-numerable benefits and value them as “arts for art’s sake”. We need to advocate harder and encourage understanding, however, for those who don’t inherently see the connections between art and how we live, don’t think the arts are important and “not a part of my life” as I heard in the October municipal election in 2017.
It is the strong, resilient and connected arts organisation that can meet these financial challenges while incubating artistic pursuits in arts learning, skill acquisition while delivering broad reaching arts opportunities, events, programming, knowledge and arts experience. It is especially needed from our arts organisations when something as simple as fun, a genuine sense of joy and quality of life for our youth, seniors, the working poor and many Albertans is compromised in so many ways.
We aim to be the arts organisation that can take some of the pressure off a workaday life with our events while supporting artists at the same time. That can alleviate some of the financial burdens of arts pursuits, bring much needed resources and infrastructure required to support the arts, the community that is already here and one that will continue to grow. We are working hard to nourish more arts activities, artful living and flourishing creative economies that develop as a result of even the smallest investment backed with fantastic, groundbreaking ideas and support.
You have a strong team here in your community’s Arts Council that has seen through to 2018 an unbelievably busy year - remember our Wizarding World of Okotoks Festival last October - but surprisingly productive year despite some challenges. I’m confidant that your Okotoks Arts Council will continue to accomplish some amazing, unexpected things where people may just wonder again, “Exactly how did they do that?”
As a teacher and mother I know better than to underestimate people. I certainly never underestimate what an artist or their powerful art can inspire and accomplish. I worry about the state of the arts in Okotoks as I have for many years - I will always worry. But I do not underestimate this board and all that it is capable of accomplishing in our arts future for the benefit of everyone. The Okotoks Arts Council is ready to help lead in this future.
We have all heard we don’t live to work and that we ought to “work to live”. Art is what makes us uniquely human: it raises you up, it makes you think, it makes you think about others, it heals, it gives and it inspires possibility. Otherwise, what are we working so hard and living for?
We are so pleased that through our hard work to inspire lives filled with art, that this community is really starting to take notice. We look forward to continuing to build on that this year.
Your Okotoks Arts Council,