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Inner City Conference
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ArtScape/CityCore Inner City Conference

The artist in the inner city

A conference for the benefit of local producing artists which covered Status of the Artist Legislation, Advocacy, and the Cultural and Economic Impacts of the Arts, basic needs of the cultural producer, and examples of successful collaborations between the cultural community and levels of government in trying to meet these needs.

Presentations and discussion were held on the following topics:
Establishing Our Credentials - The Status of the Artist
Getting the Message Across - Advocating the Positive Economic and Cultural Impacts of the Arts.
Revitalizing the downtown - What do cultural workers need to help make it happen?

Presenters included:
Tom Hendry, Adam Ostry, Clive Robertson
Glen Buick, Murdoch Burnett, and Gilles Hebert.

the cultural producer in the inner city

Centre for the Performing Arts
Calgary, Alberta

February 14, 15 & 16, 1991

ArtScape/CityCore - The cultural landscape offered by local producers in the inner city. How well does it fit into urban life? Is it an integral part of the infrastructure or is it uncomfortably squeezed in wherever a temporary, affordable niche can be found? Does it serve the producing artist? Do artists adequately serve the local community? Are local artists respected professionals working in a demanding range of disciplines, or are they occasional providers of amusement or distraction?

The ArtScape/CityCore conference will focus on these and other questions, addressing national and local contexts related to cultural production and the socio/economic value of the arts.

The conference will begin with a keynote address by Tom Hendry, Director of Arts in the City in Toronto, who will set the scene for discussion on subsequent days, and inform the local situation with a broader philosophical perspective. We will be investigating these issues in a series of four panels spread over two days.

  • The federal government has introduced long-awaited legislation on the status of the artist in Canada. The document has been praised by the Canadian Conference on the Arts but does not embrace all of the Government Task Force's recommendations. The paper addresses questions related to professional status, employment, taxation and UIC benefits. Is it enough, and if not, what's missing, and how will it affect you?
  • We will also be looking at the positive economic and social impacts that art production brings to a city. Cultural industries employ thousands of people and inject millions of dollars into the national economy, and consistently run in the top ten industries, nationally. These are significant figures.
    They are particularly significant when comparing the diminished value of primary cultural production to the media's absorption and filtering of art's innovation for a consumer oriented audience. Are you being undervalued? Are you being exploited? Is your contribution adequately acknowledged, socially and financially?
  • There has been much discussion about the revitalization of the inner city, but if this revitalization is going to take place, local cultural producers will play an important part. What are the needs of local producing artists in terms of best serving the inner city? How could local and provincial governments best contribute to local production and help minimize the operating stresses that negatively effect non-profit cultural groups?
  • Where should we be looking for examples of multi-level co-operation? What positive experiences have other centres to offer in resolving this problem? We'll be looking at ideas from Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver.