Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympics, Hearts, and Art

2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games have begun. I am in Vancouver. I live here. I am an artist living in a province of Canada that seems to only value the cultural or entertainment aspects of arts practice. The Olympics is full of entertainment, and culturally focused events, of which I am a part. Once the Olympics leave the city, so does provincial support for the arts. But the artists will remain. Arts will remain. I don't think we are willing to go back underground?

I have received several contracts through Olympic-related events. I have been paid professional rates for my services as a choreographer, and rightly so. This to me shows an element of respect for my training, skill, perspective and practice. I am however well aware that I was not paid these rates solely for my perspective and my personal artistic vision. I was paid to provide a requested service deemed useful/ functional for a community by somebody else- and in this capacity I was a cultural worker, using my skills to enhance the cultural experience and highlight aspects of a community for others in the community. Arguably this did not have to be an artistic gig. Someone with skills in logistics, and with the patience of a good teacher could have done most of it. The experience and end result would have been different but the job would have been done, just as efficiently and just as on time. The power of the deadline. I did community and cultural work for the Olympics. I just happen to be an artist.
I received a parking permit for one event which declared me an entertainer. I tried to smile all day.

I watched the Opening ceremonies last night. KD Lang stole the show for me. Her song was a dance-- of grief, passion, beauty, strength, grace and skill. The visuals were astounding, breath-taking.

I stood on Robson in an international crowd- proud to be in Vancouver.

Is that so wrong?


carla said...

being an artist makes you one who bears the torture of imperfection and the lack of vision in others toward all things beautiful. amazingly vancouver is a natural beauty and inspires those living there with possibility. the thing is vancouver is a child so very young and not really sophisticated. so your gift of talent and art is used and i hope to your surprise more influential than expected. to you and millions more days of art.

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Claire French said...

I just logged back in to my blog after a busy couple of months and I am pleasantly surprised that there are comments to my posts! Thanks guys. Sorry for the non-reponse so far.

Luckily I have been busy being an artist! And in my commissioned positions I am being challenged to identify for myself the role of art in these situations.

I recently gave a talk for DanceHouse with Santa Aloi on Contemporary Dance - toying with both its complexities especially in terms of definition and discussing ways in which we can engage with it in our current cultural climate.

I feel good about expanding my horizons in order to remain an artist and spread the knowledge and work farther afield.

Vancouver is an inspiring place, young, impressionable and there is room to develop its sophistication. I hope to add to this.