Hamilton Fringe Festival

An 11-day unjuried theatre festival that happens every summer in downtown Hamilton

ArtsVote Hamilton – How You Can Get Involved

Posted by on May 6, 2014

Written by Denyse Terry

In March we told you about ‘Stage Directions’, an Open Space meeting that brought Hamilton Theatre folks together around the central theme of imagining the next steps for theatre in Hamilton. Many many ideas were born that day, and you can count on hearing about some of those developments here. Today’s post is from a new group in town, called ArtsVote Hamilton. Here they start the conversation about the need for an advocacy group in our city and how you can get involved right away.

The goal of ArtsVote Hamilton is to raise awareness about the importance of the arts in a vibrant growing city. We are doing this by encouraging local politicians to get behind funding for the arts at City Council. And how will we achieve this? By educating city councilors about the benefits of a vibrant arts scene. How will we do that you ask? Good question – and we need your help.

 

Image courtesy of Clarence Porter

Image courtesy of Clarence Porter

 

Hamilton is a city known for its diverse social scene, with a pulsing mixture of upper, middle and working class people. Hamilton has a proud history of being on the side of workers and recently has focused on tackling poverty issues. How can a city that must focus on poverty find the time and money to spend on the arts?

The two issues need not be in competition.

The arts in Hamilton not only bring a brighter spiritual life to the city but naturally encourage the revitalization of older, poorer neighborhoods (witness the recent Renaissance of James Street North)! The truth is that cities such as Birmingham, England and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have recently discovered an important principle: both cities, like Hamilton, have seen the demise of heavy industry, but both have also focused on the arts as a way to actually improve their city’s economy.
The arts not only improves the quality of life in the city by providing venues and opportunities for artists to create inspiring work, but the arts positively impacts these aspects of city life:

  • JOBS
  • BUSINESSES
  • OUR INTERNATIONAL PROFILE!

In a 2012 Hill Strategies study of arts funding Hamilton ranked 7th out of 8 Canadian municipalities (compared to Toronto, Winnipeg, Waterloo, Halifax, Windsor, London). That’s $3.08 per person.

A city with a vibrant arts scene creates jobs, and encourages the growth of the service industry, and many other city businesses. Hamilton can look back on a proud history of being a tourist destination due to its gorgeous scenery and very special bay location. The ARTS offer another very good reason for people to come here to visit, and pour money into the economy.
The arts, most importantly, help to build a civil, spiritual life for its citizens. But beyond that, and on a much more practical level, the flourishing arts community increases investment, attracts tourists, generates revenue and boosts our city’s international profile.

Here’s what you can do: ArtsVote Hamilton needs volunteers for the May 9 Artcrawl to ask folks in the street what questions they would like to ask their councilors about art funding in Hamilton. We’ll have some newly designed postcards, with the gorgeous picture above provided by Clarence Porter.

Mark your calendars: On June 4, 7pm, ArtsVote Hamilton invites city councilors to 121 Hughson St. where host Jeff Mahoney from the Hamilton Spectator will lead a panel with the candidates about their positions on arts funding for the city.

That’s not all! Go to our new Facebook page and ‘Like’ us in order to be kept in the loop about events. Leave a comment and or question on the page! Write to us directly at hamartsvote@gmail.com and let us know if you can give ArtsVote Hamilton a couple hours of your time on Friday, May 9  from 7-9pm. Can’t go to the May 9 Artcrawl? That’s okay, write us anyway to tell us you would like to get involved.

With the upcoming elections, this is such an excellent time to find out where our politicians stand on their support for the arts. With your support, ArtsVote Hamilton can help make your vote more informed.