A comprehensive report on how to help Alberta culture thrive over the next several decades is expected to be unveiled later this spring, announced Culture and Community Services Minister Heather Klimchuk in Red Deer on Saturday.
During closing ceremonies of Culture Forum 2012 at Red Deer College, Klimchuk said a report will be compiled to include public feedback from the two-day event that attracted about 400 delegates. A broader base of Albertans can also have their say through an online survey on the Alberta Culture website until March 28.
“I want to assure you that we’ll consider carefully all of the input we receive and ensure that our final report is a thorough representation of your voice and the voice of Albertans,” said Klimchuk.
Culture Forum 2012 was the largest cross-disciplinary discussion on culture ever held in Alberta. Artists, non-profit representatives, and those from the private sector were among those who attended to see how they could partner together to increase cultural activities in schools and across other spectrums of society.
Klimchuk explained this is the beginning of building an innovative, secure and sustainable cultural community. It’s important not to lose momentum, she added.
Among those carefully listening to Klimchuk’s words was Samantha Williams-Chapelsky.
The self-employed visual artist from St. Albert hopes the government will act on the suggestions made at this forum.
“People have great ideas and have great respect for culture, but I think it needs to go a step forward and be implemented,” said Williams-Chapelsky. “They (the province) did speak about incorporating culture into all the different sectors and I think that’s great. I just want to see it being played out.”
The forum allowed people to break off into various groups for round-table discussions.
Jan Underwood, public awareness co-ordinator for Central Alberta Refugee Effort, and Diane Anderson, co-ordinator for the umbrella group known as Red Deer Arts Council, said the event was a great one of collaboration.
“There was a real emphasis on collaboration and partnerships, particularly amongst non-profit organizations,” said Underwood.
Underwood was also impressed that many delegates described culture as being multi-cultural, and not just being the arts. People are also eager to see the profile of art and its artists raised in the community, she added. It’s also important that access to art is made easier for the entire community, said Underwood.
“We hope the government listens — that there are talks within their departments and that they look at ways on how they can improve funding the arts,” said Underwood.
Anderson said this forum revealed the broad range of Alberta’s cultural community.
“Culture is so hard to define because it’s part of our everyday life,” she said. “And it’s nice to know that all of these heads think something similar — and give it value.”