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Census aims to help form a vision for artists

Arts and EntertainmentCensus aims to help form a vision for artists

Nearly 50 people showed up to the Coach House at Glenhryst Art Gallery for a presentation of the findings of an Arts Census completed last summer on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

The census was done in collaboration with Arts Ecology of Brantford/Brant and artists within the community, and it aimed to capture how artists and creatives view their present and future industry.

A total of 70 people participated in the census that collected data on demographics, work and labour compensation, development and marketing, as well as future visions.

“Our community is changing and we are getting a lot of new people in the city,” said Ana Olson, Gallery Director of The Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant. “A lot of new people that are from bigger cities who are demanding these types of cultural engagements and so we are trying to get a better understanding of where we’re at, who we are talking to, what is out there and what are people’s wants and needs.”

The long-form survey results will help in imagining a future vision for the arts and make a cohesive artistic collective that can help advocate the needs of artists and creatives alike.  

For many artists that partook in the survey, the lack of studio spaces, resources and money are often a concern.

Wiktor Kulinski, Principal Researcher at Arts Ecology of Brantford/Brant presented the findings of the survey and how the results were broken down.

Wiktor Kulinski and Ana Olsen compared similar cities that have an Arts Council and thriving community on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

Some reported that they lacked the opportunity to present, market or sell their works within the community, while many also expressed wanting more opportunities for connecting and networking.

The survey revealed that there are many opportunities to expand and improve the arts in Brantford/Brant, and 90% of participants believed that there should be a collective Arts Council – they want a voice and a presence for art and culture.

After the data presentation, Kulinski took a look at other cities that are similar to Brantford/Brant that have a successful art community, before moving onto goals and possible vision/mission statements.

Olson began an informal vision session by addressing previous surveys that haven’t gone very far in the way of making changes and she hopes that the data from the census will be different.

“Hopefully we can turn this research and this initiative into some reality, into actionable things,” she said.

Wiktor Kulinski and an attendee took turns discussing what an Art Council could provide on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

A large part of the vision session included the idea of starting an Arts Council that would help to advocate for artists. The idea of starting up a new Arts Council had many artists and creatives in the room discussing a few concerns, as well as the many positive points of having an Arts Council.

It’s not often that a group of artists and creatives get together in one room, so attendees took the time to brainstormed ideas on what the council would look like, what it would aim to achieve and how it would help with resources, networking and funding.The discussion continued right up until the end of the meeting before Olsen and Kulinski announced that another meeting to discuss the Arts Council will be held at Glenhryst on Thursday, February 9, 2023.

To view the detailed results of the census, visit: https://www.artsecology.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Public-Report-Arts-Census-2022.pdf

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