Read Tom Lucier’s recent blog post. He spells out nearly everything he does in this city, for free. He draws on examples of other talented people in this city who continue to try to stick it out for who knows what reasons. He makes a compelling case for having to give up some of these things he does as labours of love.
It was upsetting and it was terrifying.
That there remains any talented creative people in this city (and I suppose I’m being slightly narrow in my definition, thinking of artists, musicians, actors, writers) is kind of incredible. As much as I believe in this city, I really don’t believe we are giving enough people enough reasons to stay.
So, I have to suggest some ridiculous and likely impossible ways to get people to stay, because that’s what we do — we look at problems, invent solutions, and then sometimes we even try to act on those solutions.
We need to establish a social innovation fund. This will supply micro-grants (up to $2500) for people who want to do something creative and amazing here in Windsor.
We need to identify and make accessible studio spaces that can be shared, are safe, up to code, and very reasonably priced. This will create a place for people to work out of should we be lucky enough to entice them to stay.
We need to figure out how to convince the huge number of people who graduate and leave every year to stay just a little while longer. This will give us ample opportunity to get those talented people invested enough in this place to want to stay.
We need to figure out how to convince more people to pay more money to retain the talent we have in this city, or we probably need to figure out how to find value in what we already do. This will provide a base level of income to keep people like Tom writing and reporting instead of having to do something like take up a paper route.
We need to put Windsor on the map, the world map, as a place in which to do more than just pass through. This will enable all of the above things to happen, and happen sooner rather than later.
We needed to do this yesterday. Realistically though, it’s already too late.
8 Replies to “For Windsor, Realistic Expectations and Imaginative Solutions”
my (probably far off) educational plan involves moving to peterborough to study fibre arts at fleming, and perhaps go on to take their visual arts diploma course (since i’d already have some credits from the fibre arts certificate).
if windsor had anything like this, i would stay, but windsor does not have the greatest list of post secondary programs. I also think it’d be nice to go away for school. I’d probably feel a lot more independent this way. plus, there are a lot of times that most of the people in this city make me absolutely insane, so i think some time away would make me appreciate windsor as a city more, lol.
i’ve mentioned having a dream of having a sort of epic creative space on this blog before. i’m not sure what to call it. basically, it would be like kinkos for the creative. i’d hope to have supplies and equipment and the knowhow between myself and perhaps a small creative team to teach anyone interested in a whole array of creative techniques and ideas (sewing, knitting, screenprinting, film developing, scrapbooking, woodworking, etc etc).
i would try to keep the cost of using the space and equipment to a bare minimum since in my experience, the high cost of workshops and studio spaces in windsor is what has been stopping me from taking part in them. I would still need to try to make enough money to keep it running, however. i guess this is where tom lucier’s post comes in. i want to give back and supply the city with this great creative center, but at what cost? the arts aren’t the cheapest field to go into, as anyone who has majored in it, or even walked down the aisle of micheal’s craft store, knows.
i want this space to live in windsor. i want to teach windsorites and see them grow and develop into happy little artists who are confident to try new things. i know so many people who want to do great things, but they have no outlet to learn or express themselves in the city. so even if i do go to peterborough to learn some skills, i do plan to come back and share my knowledge and creativity with the city.
i want to help make the list of “talented people in windsor” grow beyond a list of ten people. maybe i just read too many local blogs, but i’ve been noticing the same names coming up A LOT. there are a lot more “talented” people in this city than that and i want to help them get their imaginations and work out there : )
Samantha, thank you for writing such an inspiring comment. I am so happy to hear that you want to make such exciting things happen here in Windsor and that you’d even consider returning to Windsor after your eventual trek to Peterborough. It makes total sense that you’d have to leave to pursue those skills and it’s 100% entirely healthy for everyone to step out of this place when they can, it’s just entirely encouraging to hear that this leaving isn’t mutually exclusive to a return.
Every time you’ve mentioned this “kinkos for the creative” I’ve been inspired by the vision that it takes to even plot something like that out. I would love to see it happen and I would love to help make it happen should the opportunity arise.
And, I certainly don’t mean to continue to push forward the same ten names of talented people in Windsor. There is an immense wealth of talent here, I suppose, it’s just lazy and convenient to keep that list so short, but from here on out, I’ll try to stop being so lazy about it.
So, in short, we should talk soon.
Are you folks familiar with the Centre For Social Innovation in Toronto? They are trying to encourage other “open spaces” elsewhere: http://socialinnovation.ca/openspaces
As for the notion of free in relation to creative work, what came to mind was the last episode of CBC’s Spark in which Seth Godin is interviewed: http://www.cbc.ca/spark/2010/01/spark-97-january-3-5-2010/…
Mita, thanks for the reminder, someone had just mentioned that Social Innovation site to me, time to dig in deeper.
I also caught that interview on Spark, very relevant, but I think the problem in some cases is the lack of knowing how to value the knowledge you have and be able to monetize / mobilize that knowledge. And it seemed like Seth suggested ways to adjust how you do the job you already have, which may not be that applicable to the creative folks here wanting to work in their field… and maybe that’s just me being idealistic.
Maybe we need a creative economic workshop … how to make money off of the things you already do best? Who would lead it?
I left the city 8 years ago to attend school for photography (in London, and then I was working in Toronto), and made the conscious decision to return this spring. I’m so glad I did. Windsor is full of opportunity. It’s a small enough city to make networking a breeze; word spreads in this city… fast. I find Windsor to be highly accessible, and not intimidating at all (as compared to Toronto). I was glad I left the city for school, though… that was an invaluable experience that I think every person should have. It gives you perspective, and you gain an appreciation for the city that’s not possible otherwise. “Fresh eyes”, as the artist’s are known to say.
What we’re lacking, as a city, is motivation. Motivation comes from being inspired. People like Tom Lucier, and you folks here at BCL, are the epitome of inspiration. When I stumbled across this blog back in May, I was pleasantly surprised, and my hope for the creative/cultural scene in this city was restored.
What we need now, as is apparent from Tom’s post, are MORE of these inspirational people. Maybe someone can offer a workshop on how to organise events similar to those that have occurred in the past. And this Kinko for artists idea sounds amazing. I’d also love to see some more independent art galleries downtown, like what is seen on Queen St. West in Toronto.
Most importantly, we need to stay POSITIVE. In everything we do, say and think, we need to remind ourselves that Windsor is beautiful city, with lots of great things to do and see.
I couldn’t agree more, Kari. Being positive is the only way to continue to work on this place and continue to be inspired by it and the people here.
I think we need to be strategic about what areas we focus on growing… I think in some respects we’re stretching the people who already come out to cultural programming to the limit … more galleries/cultural spaces might mean less time doing the things that already exist? Or, and this is the hopeful part, or it might mean that there becomes a wider range of programming that can appeal to a wider community and/or better reflect the diversity in the communities already here and grow the capacity of this city to be a place worth staying for.
Strategy is definitely a good thing to have. But, more galleries/programs/exhibits/workshops/etc. means more advertising, which means more media coverage, which means you’re reaching a larger group of people. I think saturating the market would be a good thing, in this instance.
It’s possible that some folks out there don’t have any interest in attending the particular events that are offered. Methinks, though, it has more to do with people not knowing about these events. Either way, more programs would work to our advantage.
The question still remains though… who out there is qualified and willing to organise these events? And yes, a creative economic workshop sounds like it’s needed. You learn a bit about marketing and pricing and whatnot when you’re in school for a craft or art, but many artists out there are self taught, and just getting started.
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