At my post election internal pow wow I came up with some pretty startlingly clear realizations about the Peterborough arts scene and think it’s high time we get a craft mafia (or whatever) together. We do have a great scene here and many organizations accessible to us to support it but which are also caught up in the standard issue bureaucratic red tape which comes with government funding on any level. At some point depending on those organizations becomes a crutch and things get stagnant, boring, a little incestuous, elitist and inaccessible to the people whose stories we’re supposed to be telling. None of these things does a healthy, vibrant arts community make. We have an MP in office who believes we’re already there and my response is this call to action to create opportunities to prove him wrong.
My vision begins and ends in community. Here are the things I want to see come of this, some of them are a little more crystallized than others but bear with me:
– random acts of kindness through guerilla art. One cause that’s near and dear to my heart is Community Living’s ‘Our Space’ project. We could hold a sew-in. Base it out of the halls of Peterborough Square or Lansdowne Place. Get donations of fabrics together and charge $10 for shoppers to sew their own tote bag. Patrons will be engaged & learn a new skill, proceeds will go to the Our Space project, plastic bags will be kept out of landfills, and we get our names & faces out there.
– skills sharing. I’m sure many of us engage in this already but can we really get enough? I know how to install a zipper, edit code and create a mean marketing plan and I really want to learn to crochet. Got some advice on getting your website noticed? Need to get the word out about a workshop you’re hosting? Informal workshops/exchanges in kitchens and living rooms and coffee shops can be held.
– resource sharing. When are you putting your next wholesale order in and can I have some? Who needs postering done in my ‘hood? We can all save money & time if we pool together.
– awareness & hype. Like I said, this is about creating opportunities. We can get our own events together instead of waiting for them to come around. It’s a little late for this year but we could band together to get a tree into the festival of trees for next year. We could have a dragon boat race team. We could have bowling shirts with our names on them!
-feeding our compulsions. I craft therefore I am. Pretty sure we all get that but some of us find it hard to get up the motivation, clear the space, and dig in. How about craft nights/days? Creating atmospheres in which it’s ok to muck up and get messy?
I have loads of ideas and I’m sure you all do too being the creative bods that you are. I want to keep this informal, ever-evolving and changing, constantly breathing new life into itself. I want us to work together with established organizations to take some of the pressure off their doling out of the trickle of funds they get and make our community aware of their presence. I want to see us going out into the community as a united front encouraging buying local, buying handmade and getting people engaged in the act of art itself. I want those of us who make our livings with our crafts to embrace (literally and/or figuratively – good thing we don’t have an HR department, eh?) our competition and take a vested interest in their success knowing they’re doing the same for us. I want our dabblers to dabble more and create, create, create.
I’ve started a facebook group to get this going. If anyone has ideas on when and where to meet I would love to hear them. Spread the word! Let’s make this ball roll!