Home » Coffee with Jeff Melanson, Rob Ford’s Culture Man

Coffee with Jeff Melanson, Rob Ford’s Culture Man

This morning, I met with Jeffrey Melanson, Mayor Rob Ford’s special advisor on the arts. We were introduced through the wonderful Will Huffman, at the Toronto Art Council.

Jeff Melanson. Image: 123nonstop.com

Though we had originally planned an interview, he asked to wait to answer my questions and instead suggested that we meet for coffee. The first thing you notice about Melanson is that he’s extremely tall and friendly, but he’s also clear and quite convincing.

Melanson outlined his plans and challenges (big challenges) for arts and culture in Toronto, and while I’m not allowed to say what we talked about – yet – suffice to say that the visual arts community can be sure that he is working on our behalf. He seems to have a fairly strong vision.

Bear in mind the huge amount of bureaucracy that he is up against, not to mention pressures from all sorts of interests.

As he pointed out, the city is polarized and I think that it’s important for all of us to keep an open mind when it comes to Rob Ford’s administration. I’m not pro-Ford, and I didn’t vote for him (nor did Melanson, in fact) but that doesn’t mean that he’s not open to Melanson’s plans for arts and culture.

Having spoken with him, I’m confident that he’s focusing on the right areas, and that he’ll be good for the arts.

I’m hoping that in the next few weeks I’ll be able to post the originally planned interview.

Stay tuned.

For now, HERE are Martin Knelman’s thoughts in the Toronto Star from a few weeks ago. Here’s hoping we move forward, not back.

5 Responses to “Coffee with Jeff Melanson, Rob Ford’s Culture Man”

  1. Katherine Bruce says:

    This is encouraging Andrea!

  2. Don Quixote of Toronto fighting bureaucracy.
    Lets hope your feelings are good Andrea!
    Any way pretty handsome dude.

  3. “while I’M NOT ALLOWED TO SAY WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT – yet – suffice to say that the visual arts community can be sure that he is working on our behalf.”

    Oh dear.

  4. greg normon says:

    oh pretentious one. who do you imagine yourself to be?
    no artist thinks you are a cultural czar.
    you don’t speak for the artists.
    you are posturing.
    no one “trusts” you.
    your just another bureaucrat with sticky fingers into federal money- part of the fat that should be cut.

    what do do for your cash? sit on your ass pretending to be part of the cultural elite?

  5. Valeria says:

    I hope the new handsome guy can help the artists (we need to think positive), and it will be not just sweet talk in the beginning of his carer. Regarding previous comments, I think it is too harsh.

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