Art Matters Forum - "Citizens, to the arts!"

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Art Matters Forum: “Citizens, to the arts! (Re)Connecting citizens, artists and the arts”

Montreal, Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The performance by SAT/Mix Sessions demonstrates the infinite possibilities of technological tools, reflecting our imagination and serving art.

Bravo to those young artists and their dialogue of sound and light.

They are a source of inspiration and an excellent prelude to our discussions.

The discussions we have here today will certainly resonate throughout and beyond this venue, where influences, disciplines and technologies converge.

Thank you to the Society for the Arts and Technology for hosting us this evening.

Welcome, dear friends, to this 47th Art Matters forum!

Jean-Daniel and I see this forum for discussion as a way of showcasing the key, indeed vital, role of culture and the arts as meeting place, civilizing medium and wonderful civics lesson, providing so much food for thought.

I would like to mention the presence of some of the artists who will be receiving this year’s Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, and whose names were announced at a press conference this afternoon.

They are:

-     Mohammed and Yulanda Faris, two great philanthropists who have supported numerous cultural institutions and initiatives in Vancouver and elsewhere in Canada;

-     Walter and Emmy Homburger, who have supported the careers of numerous internationally renowned artists, including Louis Lortie;

-     and Robin Phillips, a distinguished theatre director.

Thank you so much for accepting our invitation.

A number of you here this evening work in the cultural and artistic fields in the broadest, by which I mean universal sense: you are contributing to education, awareness, democratization, cultural mediation, and so on.

For you know that arts and culture are not on the fringes of what is real, but are firmly grounded in a social reality, in relation with the world, the times and the public space in which they evolve.

You know how important it is to find new ways to enhance that interaction, which is a source of innovation, progress and renewal.

You know that culture and the arts are a collective treasure, which should be accessible to all.

And you know that that accessibility is a telling diagnosis of a society’s democratic health.

And that culture for all is not only an opportunity for enrichment, but an inalienable right.

To inform us, inspire us and guide our discussion, five panelists have agreed to join us, for which we owe them our heartfelt thanks.

I now yield the floor to Jean-Daniel, to whom we are indebted for having founded Art Matters and who has long been keenly interested in the rich, healthy dialogue that is forged between artists and citizens.

Citizens, to the arts!