Home » VoCA Loves GG Michaëlle Jean: Connecting Citizens to the Arts!

VoCA Loves GG Michaëlle Jean: Connecting Citizens to the Arts!

VoCA loves our GG.  She understands the value of arts and culture.  Last week in Montreal, Governor General Michaëlle Jean gave this statement: “Culture must be able to express itself everywhere and always, and be accessible to as many people as possible, for it bears within it our choices, our hopes, our memory and our imagination.”


I See What You Mean, the Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center. Image: denvergov.org

On the evening of March 1, culture-minded Torontonians gathered at a Town Hall meeting to protest the City Council’s rejection of BeautifulCity.com’s initiative to have taxes from advertising billboards going toward arts and culture.

Check out past blog posts on that topic HERE and HERE.

It might not seem like a big deal, but it points to the fact that the arts community must keep fighting for recognition of the importance of art in Toronto. It’s the most obvious difference between Toronto and cities like Chicago and Montreal.


Canada’s beautiful, and arty Governor General, Michaëlle Jean. Image: divineshows.com

Isn’t it odd that Canada’s Governor General understands – even champions – the value of arts and culture, as does the City of Montreal and La Belle Province, while Toronto City Council (not to mention Harper’s government) has yet to have the foresight to see how a tax on billboard ads (outside the box funding stream, hello) should be used to beautify the city, creating significant long-term value for city dwellers? Especially at a time when Toronto is undergoing significant densification?

On February 23, 2010 their Excellencies the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond hosted the first Art Matters public forum to be held in Montréal, at the Société des arts technologiques (SAT). The event was themed “Citizens, to the arts! (Re)Connecting citizens, artists and the arts” and honoured the recipients of this year’s Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.


Brian Tolle, For the gentle wind doth move Silently, invisibly. It’s in Buffalo. Image: buffalo.edu

For the past four years, Rideau Hall—on His Excellency Jean Daniel Lafond’s initiative—has organized a series of forums on culture and society called Art Matters. They are wonderful opportunities to bring citizens, artists, academics and administrators together to discuss the challenges facing culture and to examine these issues in our society. More than 40 sessions have already been held across Canada and abroad.

HuffPo agrees, saying: “Art has the power to inspire, to heal, to transform, to rehabilitate, to bear witness, and to make us believe that there are better days ahead.” Read more from the Huffington Post HERE.

For more information on the Art Matters forums, please click HERE

For more on BeautifulCity.ca, and to sign the petition, please click HERE.

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