It’s time for Cambridge Artists to join the Region

By  | July 8, 2012 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Editorial

It’s time for Cambridge artists to join the artists of Waterloo Region
The Cambridge art community has always been pretty isolated from the rest of the region, and it’s time to change that.
This was really driven home to me when, earlier this year, I was honoured to be named a finalist for a Waterloo Region Art Award. I attended a reception for the finalists in May, and was somewhat surprised to find out the of the over 50 nominees, there were only 3 names I recognized from Cambridge. I was given a very nice certificate from “Arts Awards Waterloo Region” signed by Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr, who presented me with the certificate, and Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran, who sent a represtative as she was out of town.
Doug Craig, and Cambridge Council, were conspicuously absent, both in person and on paper, Perhaps they are too embarrassed over the fact that our art funding is half that per person as our KW Neighbours.
Last year an article appeared about a new initiative for artists headed by Heather Sinclair in conjunction with the Prosperity Council to help the creative sector.
In the fall, there was a notice in the Cambridge Times that Creative Enterprise Initiatives would be in Cambridge for a meeting with Cambridge Artists. After talking about their purpose, and what they were about, Heather admitted that they were having a difficult time getting Cambridge people involved. I stood up and said “We can’t even agree we’re from the same city, never mind being part of a Region.” A few others, most notably Robert Fox and Nicole Daigle, made similar statements and the discussion pretty much petered out after that.
Much to my surprise, Heather and her staff, Robin and Rose, spent three days in coffee shops in each of the three core areas, talking to artists and shopkeepers in the core areas, and have been working hard to bring together artists from all over the region.
Over the last year we have witnessed new interactions between artists from different genres, most notably Robert Fox’s “Many Faces of Cambridge” and Judee Richardson-Schofield and Brenda Turnour’s “Mix It Up” projects.
At the same time a number of Cambridge Artists, such as Jennifer Depencier, Alison Saunders and Woody Woodfield, are working with KW organizations such as the Button Factory and Art Allies to get their work out to a wider audience.
We have seen artists from Galt, Preston and Hespeler working together on co-operative projects, it’s time for us to join artists from the rest of the region. Maybe at the Waterloo Region Art Awards next year there will be more of us. (But still no politicians!)
(One of the things that CEI currently offer is a free membership in the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce if you are an artist or creative business that makes less than 50k a year and has less than 3 employees. This also gives you access to health care benefits.)


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