Art is __________________.

The “Art is _________” video booth will be on-site at the Dream Big Conference with Lindsay Sarazin collecting videos in support of local arts advocacy.

Art is essential. Art is freedom. Art is passion. Art is expansive. Art is…you fill in the blank. Ultimately art is important. It is a part of life that cannot be ignored, and it plays a vital role in our communities. Arts and culture helps to sustain and enrich the economy bringing many jobs, leisure activities and experiences to people in any community.

The city of North Bay has acknowledged its rich cultural heritage and the importance of the arts. They have implemented plans such as the Cultural Plan in 2011. They have had roundtable discussions, speaking about the next steps the city could take to improve the community through the arts. However, the greater community is still very much unaware of the things happening in our city with regards to arts and culture. There are up to 15 spaces in our town that display art regularly. However, many individuals who are uninvolved in the arts are completely unaware that local art galleries and public art spaces even exist. This needs to change.

Artists should be having an impact on the community at large, not just a selected few individuals who share similar interests. My vision for North Bay’s art community is that arts organizations would band together more often. When we visit local restaurants or hotels there would be paintings on the walls by local artists, promoting the diverse and unique talent that only our city has to offer. I have a dream that art galleries would be full of visitors hungry to experience a great show of talent and intellect. Lets bring art onto the streets; lets have young artists avidly creating to make the city look beautiful. Lets get the word out about the opportunities and experiences that are currently available to the public!

People of North Bay, my challenge to you is to address the issue of this underground arts scene in North Bay. What is your vision? What would you like to see? How can we make a difference that results in a real positive change in our community? Don’t be afraid to dream big. Let your voice be heard!

Statement by White Water Gallery Coordinator, Lesley Lane