As the next municipal election approaches, various local organizations hailing from the world of arts and culture united to declare September a month of culture with the support of Press Russell Arts Council (CAPRAC).
For this initiative, CAPRAC is joined by L’Orignal Old Jail, Clarence-Rockland Artists Association, Association du patrimoine familial francophone de l’Ontario (APFFO), Boisés Est, Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre, Le Chenail Cultural Centre, La Maison des Arts, Macdonell-Williamson House and the Clarence-Rockland Museum. Collectively, these organizations represent seven of the eight municipalities of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.
The announcement was made official during a press conference held at Maison de l’Île, on Chenail Island, in Hawkesbury on the morning of August 28, 2018.
The first speaker at the event was author and poet Éric Charlebois, who delivered an expertly crafted and thought-provoking speech. Through tongue-in-cheek delivery, Charlebois started by asking those present (artists, politicians, political candidates and public servants) to “please stop financing art, culture and heritage.”
Charlebois’s play on words reminded everyone of the importance of cultural investment with reverse psychology, pushing everyone present to realize the impact an artist can have with what could only be described as classy, meaningful sarcasm.
“Artists are a source of incomprehensible, mystical and catalytic expression of perdition and depravation that would see us become automatons and zombies… Unlike the political discourse, obviously. Dear taxpayers, the time has come to rebel against free speech. Except for my words, which you should follow, of course,” stated Charlebois at the end of his address.
CAPRAC Executive Director Shanna Steals, spokesperson for the initiative, then took the stand, reminding everyone that “it is very important, with the upcoming elections, to consider art, culture and heritage as economic and societal vehicles, fundamental to the prosperity of our region.”
Indeed, the theme for this first Culture Month is a call to action directly related to the election: “I Vote Art, Culture and Heritage”.
“We invite the population to ask their municipal candidates why art, culture and heritage are important to them and how they plan on demonstrating it,” said Steals.
CAPRAC and its partners invite everyone to follow all Culture Month developments at caprac.ca as soon as September 1, 2018.