Originally Published in Apt613

Creative CityMakers: “Why Ottawa for Arts & Culture?”

This Tuesday December 5, Synapcity is bringing together some of Ottawa’s most talented artists to ask: why Ottawa for arts and culture?

Just one peek at the evening’s line-up proves that, as well as being a hotbed for the arts, Ottawa is a city filled with passionate folks. Held at the General Assembly and sponsored by Beau’s, the evening will be filled with dance, music, storytelling, and co-created art.

Special guests include Jordan David, musician, event curator, producer and disc jockey. Jordan, whose music has been funded by the Arts Council of Ontario and the City of Ottawa, has performed during Ottawa Bluesfest, Glowfair Festival, Canadian Music Week and much more.

“Ottawa is a special city with much to offer,” Jordan said. “On the surface one can miss all of its treasures. If you’re up for adventure and not afraid to explore, the city will show you what it’s made of. I’ve had the privilege of growing up in the city and evolving with it. If you want to make a positive impact and make contributions that you feel will bring more life to whatever scene you fancy there is really nothing to it but to do it. Start now and analyze later.”

Another special guest who also appeared at Bluesfest is Danielle Allard. Her combination of jazz, folk, pop and blues has won her audiences across the world. Danielle, who donates over 30 performances to various charities per year, has always been strongly community-minded.

“I am so excited to have been a part of Synapcity for years,” Danielle explained, “and to see the incredible impact this organization has had on the hearts and minds of citizens. I am honoured to be included as a local artist in this event because of the opportunity to meet so many people who want to make this city a better place. We are so lucky to have incredible artists, but we are even more fortunate to have so many industry representatives working tirelessly every day to support those artists.”

On the evening, both Danielle and singer-songwriter Chris White will be performing. You may also recognize Chris as the host of ‘Canadian Spaces’ on CKCU FM, the nation’s longest-running folk radio program. Chris is also the co-founder and artistic director of Ottawa Folk Festival, and the founding partner of production company, Folkzone.

Musing on Ottawa, Chris said, “There is sufficient expertise, infrastructure, cultural diversity, connectedness, DIY spirit and public support in this city to sustain a wide range of exciting and engaging arts activities. With this awesome base to build on, let’s continue to strengthen our connections, share ideas and work together… and let’s dream even bigger!”

Megan Piercey Monafu, playwright, theatre director and founder and artistic director of CSArt Ottawa, also believes in Ottawa’s artistic hub. “If we believe that artists must go to the world’s largest cities in order to succeed, smaller communities lose an important aspect of growth, alternative thinking, and introspection, and artists lose their connection to the non-metropolitan world. We can spend our time wishing we were a bigger or more glamorous community, and in the meantime lose sight of what makes our community unique and what our vision is to make it better. Ottawa is a beautiful place to live, and it’s full of smart people working on national issues and new technologies. What an interesting audience for artists to interact with!”

Instagram artist Ann Nguyen (@BrooklynMotorino), who uses her photography to challenge ideas of the mundae, agrees with this. “Ottawa has just the right confluence of people, cultural amenities, and natural beauty. The city itself is of human scale, which is important to some of us.”

Another special guest is award-winning international photographer, Błażej Marczak. Błażej is curious about history, individual people’s stories, society, and the manifestation of these in the built environment. A newcomer to Ottawa, Błażej’s is already making his mark; his photograph, ‘Snowdrift Lewis Street’ is on display in City Hall.

When asked ‘why Ottawa for arts and culture?’, Błażej answered: “Because it’s easier to find a positive answer to this question than negative one. Because of its abundance of friendly, enthusiastic, culturally diverse creative people with a ‘can do’ attitude. These people are one of the essential elements needed for creative hubs to flourish. Saying that, I’m aware that Ottawa doesn’t ‘spoil you’, and its potential isn’t fully utilized, as in bigger cities around the world. I see this as an opportunity for new initiatives and experimentation.”

Other special guests include: Ottawa’s poet laureate, Jamaal Jackson Rogers; international story-teller and award-winning actress, Jacqui du Toit; illustrator and woodworker Drew Mosley; creative director of Arboretum Festival, Rolf Klausener; and dancer and artistic associate with Propeller Dance Company, Elizabeth Winkelaar.

Join us on the waiting list for this happening learning event, here. In their own words: a city is its people. You are this city.

Originally published in Apt613 on December 2nd, 2017