Monday, August 25, 2014
Imagine whirled peas...
Saturday was a day that proved to be all about community. It started with an event sponsored by the SOFIA Collective, an interdisciplinary group of artists based in the north end of Surrey, the city where I live.
They've sponsored a couple of these events, forums exploring ways the arts can contribute to the health of the community.
Even though I only attended the afternoon panels, I came away filled with hopeful thoughts for our city.
The first panel, "Intersections: Art Practice in Convergent Communities" raised many questions (and comments) about the broad multicultural spectrum represented in our city. Racism, the elephant in the room we all seem to choose to ignore, was key to the discussion -- and rightly so. According to the last reliable census figures (2006, the last census to employ the 'long form' which asks respondents to identify their ethnicity), 46% of our city consisted of 'visible minorities'. No doubt, this figure is higher now, but thanks to Harper's fact-denying agenda, such numbers will no longer be available. Not that such numbers are necessary to see who we are. Attendees were united in wanting all of us, artists and others, to go forward together, regardless of what we might look like.
The second session, "Lessons Learned: A Survival Guide to Establishing an Artist-Run Centre" was much more light-hearted, even fun. And this is likely where I found the most to take home with me.
All of the speakers talked about getting together with other artists, and surprisingly, the notion of potluck dinners came up more than once. Yes, say I, food can serve as the glue (even when the food isn't sticky!) that brings us together.
So, later in the evening, when we went to nearby New Westminster for their second annual festival of food trucks, I couldn't help notice the way everyone was getting along. It wasn't a potluck supper, but the atmosphere was similar. There were lots of conversations, comparisons of food items (Oooh, where'd you get that sandwich??), good-natured kidding while standing in line, people snapping pictures with cameras or phones.
Maybe food really is the answer, even the way to world peace.