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In an effort to assist the arts community in building sustainable practices, The Department of the Creative Economy's Culture Branch offers workshops on a year round basis that are designed to educate both individual artists and arts organizations.

Please check back for information on upcoming workshops.

Latest Workshop:

Performing Beyond Our Borders:
A discussion about artful export

Date Monday, February 27, 2017
Time 7-9pm

Mady Centre for the Performing Arts
1 Dunlop St W, Barrie, ON L4N 1A1

The City’s Culture Branch hosted experts in touring, exporting of working and international collaboration to discuss what it means to focus on the exporting of art and how to create balance between import and export of the arts to create a Creative Community.

We all know balance of trade is the difference in value between a country's imports and exports. Similarly, cultural goods and services can be seen in the same light. We also know that an imbalance is when imports exceed exports. This trade shortage or deficit represents an outflow of (essentially) money to another market, like foreign markets.

Now let’s think of this in terms of the arts. Our artists and arts organizations are a part of a larger cultural goods and services economy. Not only do they collectively tell our stories, they create jobs, build infrastructure, spend money, attract audiences; in short, they are a contributing and essential part of our economy.

We can think of this cultural economy closer to home – locally and regionally. In Barrie, our cultural gross domestic product is around $120M. This means that each person spends about $750 per year on some form of arts and cultural product consumption like movies, music, theatre, concerts etc. It is important to remember as well, in the arts, the frontline consumer is the arts audience–Netflix or concert or art gallery–no difference. Looking at this within the concept of balance of trade, of import and export, it helps to think of the arts in two ways:

Arts production – what we create; such as exhibitions, theatre, music and film etc.

Within economic spinoff, arts production created and consumed locally creates the largest beneficial impact where it is created. This is because the jobs, spending and consumption (by audience) all happen within the local and regional economy. But, when we export our arts production we gain the secondary benefit of increased arts product consumption by audiences outside our borders, while still achieving increased economic impact locally. Beyond this, and very important, we bring external attention to our local arts production while attracting new destination-driven audiences to our community.

Another advantage of export is what it attracts to the producing community. Research supports that arts exports attract artists and arts creators, as well as those people and industries involved in the creative economy, to the producing community. By contrast, when we import arts production from other places all economic benefits (excepting audience consumption) happens elsewhere – somebody and somewhere else gets most of the money. Burls Creek and Kempenfest are good examples, where most artists hired/involved are not local.

Arts audience – who comes (who we attract); who goes (who somewhere else attracts).

Local or regional audiences that consume elsewhere, like Toronto, represent a straight-forward net-loss of economic benefit locally. The money spent and jobs created do not happen here. However, local and regional audience consumption here (plus visiting audiences) maximizes economic benefit locally. And, when we export arts production, we also create new audience attention to us locally simply by being a perceived quality exporter of cultural production. Bottom line: Exporting arts audiences (those going elsewhere) – bad; Importing audiences – good.

Artful Exporting

Maximizing the economic and social benefits of the arts locally means understanding it as a sustainable force. This requires strengthening our creative production as a complex ecology. As in all ecologies we need energy to sustain it. When we create locally, we build uniqueness, authenticity and energy that cannot be created anywhere else – we are our own product. When we export our own unique arts product, we add new energy to our production system.

This energy comes in the form of attracting: New arts creators, new creative industries, new economic investment (including other levels of government), and new attention. In doing so, we become a functioning part of something beyond our borders: something that is provincial, national or international in scope. Exporting our artistic product becomes an advertisement of our community as the centre of a creative hub.  

About our panelists:
William Moore

Facilitator William Moore is recognized as an arts, culture and heritage advocate, planner and strategist. William's passion for the arts focuses on the arts telling the "authentic" stories of a "place" and, as well, the remarkable economic opportunity the arts can bring to cities, towns and regions. His company, SOLUTIONS ink, specializes in strategic planning and communications management. Solutions' consulting services include marketing and communications strategy and design, as well as strategic planning and policy development. William Moore's awards and recognition include: Ontario Museums Association, Lifetime Achievement Award; Canadian Museums Association, Arts Administrator Award of Excellence; University of Toronto, Entrepreneurship in the Arts Award, and; three Ontario Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Arts as director of the MacLaren Art Centre.

Noora Sagarwala

Noora Sagarwala is the Touring and Audience Development Officer at the Ontario Arts Council. As an arts manager with over 15 years of experience, Noora has coordinated both large-scale multidisciplinary and international festivals as well as local community-based initiatives. She has held positions at Manifesto, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts / Soulpepper, National Arts Centre, Canada Dance Festival, as well as worked as a project consultant for Nova Dance and conducted a national needs assessment study for the South Asian Dance Alliance of Canada. Noora completed an MBA from the Schulich School of Business where she received the Joe Green Founder’s Award in Arts & Media.

Arkady Spivak

Arkady Spivak attended York University, Glendon College until 2000, working on a BA in Theatre and Business, and then joined Barrie’s Gryphon Theatre in the capacity of Marketing and Development Coordinator. In 2003 he founded Talk Is Free Theatre (TIFT). Since then the company has produced over 80 productions in Barrie and toured nationally and internationally. TIFT won a prestigious Dora Award for its co-production of Assassins. Arkady continues to be active in the community through various projects and associations. He has served as a Juror for the Canada Council for the Arts, the Theatre Projects Program of the Ontario Arts Council and for Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program.

Carleigh Aikins

Barrie, Ontario born Carleigh Aikins has spent over 20 years as a vocalist. Aikins is currently a lead vocalist with Denver Colorado's Paper Bird. Their 2016 self-titled album was produced by John Oates; and he has since joined in on the band’s live performances and invited them to support Darryl Hall & John Oates at the prestigious Red Rocks Amphitheater. Paper Bird has played sold out crowds at venues such as Chataqua with the Colorado Symphony, Mountain Stage with Iron and Wine and the Denver Botanic Gardens with Jose Gonzales. They've toured North America supporting bands such as Nathaniel Rateliffe & The Night Sweats, The Lumineers and The Infamous Stringdusters. Many know Carleigh for her years singing with Canadian Artist Bahamas ; performing tirelessly on NA and EU stages shared with legends such as Robert Plant, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. The band made appearances on The Colbert Report and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Aikins is featured on Bahamas Is Afie ( 2015 Juno Award-Winning Album and Polaris Prize Nominee); as well as Barchords ( 2014 JUNO Award Nominee) and their iTunes Live EP. She has also performed and toured with several other recognizable musicians and continues to work as a visual artist.

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