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Edmonton is the cultural capital of Canada

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  • Edmonton is the cultural capital of Canada

    Cultural capital of Canada
    Edmonton earns national honour, up to $2 million

    Todd Babiak
    The Edmonton Journal

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Crowds enjoy a show at the Edmonton Folk Festival on a hot, sunny afternoon.

    EDMONTON -- Edmonton will be a cultural capital of Canada for 2007, a designation that includes funding of up to $2 million through a federal government program. Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda will make the formal announcement this afternoon at City Hall.

    The Cultural Capitals of Canada program recognizes a community's past commitment to arts and culture. It also allows the city to look forward, with funding and support for future legacy projects. Last year's winner, Saskatoon, spent the financial portion of the designation on its centennial celebration, cultural tourism initiatives, six public art projects and a long-term program matching artists with institutions and communities throughout the city.

    The legacy-building aspect of the Cultural Capitals of Canada designation funds 75 per cent of costs to a maximum of $2 million to build, inspire and celebrate art and culture, and to integrate cultural policy into city planning.

    Since 2003, when the program began, Toronto, Regina and Vancouver have been the other cultural capitals in the over-125,000 population category.

    Edmonton's proposals will be revealed this afternoon, but the designation is a major recognition, at the national level, of the city's increased support and respect for arts and culture.

    Culture activity and awareness has exploded in the city since Mayor Stephen Mandel took office, with a budget increase of $400,000 for the Edmonton Arts Council, new buildings in the works for the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum, an evening for the arts, architectural design requirements, two new literary festivals, a poet laureate, successful lecture series and a cultural branding initiative sponsored by TransAlta.

    [email protected]
    © The Edmonton Journal 2006

  • #2
    haha, you beat me by 2 seconds. I was just coming here from SSP to post the same story. Great news though, eh?
    Shameless Urbanophile


    • #3
      You have to be VERY fast to beat me lol!

      I think this is great news as it validates what Edmontonians have always known and what others are starting to appreciate...Edmonton is GREAT!


      • #4
        I knew Mandel was big on the arts, but I had no idea how thing have changed since he took the wheel. So where is our $2 mil. going to go? I hope we see some cool public art in the budget!
        Shameless Urbanophile


        • #5
          What great news! It is time to send money on public art! We ll see what they do with this money...some nice sculptures, when I get to Edmonton in Feb, I am going to pick out some locations...


          • #6
            Red Deer got this a few years ago for it's category, teehee
            LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.


            • #7
              Man.... the is so much cool public art that I've run into in various cities.

              - How about the Gehry 'Spitting Faces' project in Mellenium Park in Chicago.... (so cool)
              - Or the huge Ball of twine, chairs, random objects, etc. in Berlin.
              - Or the impossible Triangle in Perth
              Shameless Urbanophile


              • #8
                Projects planned

                Tuesday » December 19 » 2006

                Federal honour gives city hall a bright idea
                Light displays set to be part of two celebrations during our $3.3M year as a 'cultural capital'

                Todd Babiak
                The Edmonton Journal

                Tuesday, December 19, 2006

                Edmonton - The mayor, the federal environment minister and the poet laureate danced to a jam session by a bagpiper and a trio of African-style drummers under City Hall's glass pyramid Monday afternoon.

                They were celebrating Edmonton's designation as the 2007 Cultural Capital of Canada.

                The honour of Cultural Capital comes with significant cultural capital -- $2 million in federal spending toward $3.3 million in local arts projects over the course of the year. The city and community funding sources will make up the extra $1.3 million.

                Edmonton will use the opportunity to market itself as an arts destination, both for tourists and potential residents.

                Planned projects include:

                - Nightworks: Two citywide celebrations with performances and light displays, focused on northernness, urbanity and light.

                - Edmonton Explorations: A grant program for new artists, encouraging innovation and fresh ideas.

                - Cultural Inventory: A research project to identify and record Edmonton's cultural people, places and organizations, from Stewart Lemoine to the Yardbird Suite.

                - Community Arts: A small artist-in-residence program, designed to bring art and culture to Edmonton's marginalized communities. Think clay sculpture at the Bissell Centre.

                - Poetry Festival: A year-long celebration of poetry and the spoken word, inspired by the city's fall poetry festival.

                - Cultural Symposia: A two-day ideas festival, with renowned thinkers and speakers, capped with a performance arts gala.

                Designated cultural capitals also receive street banners and a commemorative sign.

                On Monday, Mayor Stephen Mandel praised the cultural community, and the arm's-length Edmonton Arts Council, for enhancing the city's quality of life.

                "We will do this award so proud that at the end of the year they might have to leave it with us," Mandel said. "We can be the cultural capital in perpetuity."

                Poet laureate Alice Major read a poem she composed for the occasion, about the haunting sound of residential streets being plowed to the concrete.

                Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said she always talks up the city's superior arts scene. In Ottawa, of course, it's hard to transcend Edmonton's reputation as a hotbed of conservative politics, hockey and oil-related concerns.

                "This was a competitive process, and Edmonton beat out a number of cities -- including Montreal, Ambrose said.

                In response, a faint "ooh" was heard among the crowd's applause.

                Under the four-year-old federal program, up to five communities a year can be designated cultural capitals in three population categories: over 125,000, the level at which Edmonton applied; 50,000 to 125,000; and under 50,000.

                This year's cultural capital among Canada's biggest cities was Saskatoon, and Toronto, Vancouver and Regina have been past honourees.

                The award recognizes a community's commitment to the arts and allows it to build legacy projects integrating culture into the community.

                "We're interested, of course, in cultural development and innovation," said John Mahon, executive director of the Edmonton Arts Council.

                "Two-thirds of this will go to actual artists and the producers of arts events. But you don't want it to be too introverted. People want a celebration. The connections between artists and the community are essential."

                Edmonton applied to Heritage Canada's Cultural Capitals program in 2004, but lost out. Mahon says this year's successful application had more pizzazz.

                The Cultural Capital of Canada designation recognizes recent achievements in a city's arts sector. Edmonton is enjoying a mini-renaissance as the economy heats up around it.

                Exciting new designs have been unveiled for the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum. The mayor has initiated an evening for the arts and the poet laureate program.

                To market its established institutions, festivals and theatre scene, TransAlta sponsored a travelling "festival in a box" program last year.

                Edmonton also has two new literary festivals, architectural design requirements throughout the city, a $400,000 increase for the local arts council, a vibrant downtown lecture series and increasingly engaged university and college communities.

                [email protected]
                © The Edmonton Journal 2006
                Noah's ark was built by volunteers...... The Titanic was built by professionals.


                • #9
                  What do you think of Edmonton’s culture?

                  What do you think of Edmonton’s culture?

                  Tuesday, December 19, 2006

                  Edmonton has been declared the culture capital of Canada for 2007.

                  As a result of the designation, Ottawa will be giving the city $2 million — which will be topped up to $3.3 million from local sources — to celebrate our culture.

                  The celebration will include a year-long poetry festival, two city-wide light displays and performances, a grant to encourage new artists, an inventory of Edmonton’s cultural people and places and a two-day cultural festival including thinkers, speakers and performances.

                  What do you think of the year-long celebration of Edmonton culture?

                  Does Edmonton have culture worth celebrating? Is there something you would like to see added to the list of cultural activities? Is there anything that doesn’t deserve to be there?