The leaders of the City of Calgary are pushing the need for art in the city. They express that “art is all around us” and they’ve been setting up public art all around Calgary. It’s safe to say that art is a crucial part to Calgary and is becoming more integrated into the city’s heartbeat every day. The most major art centres and events are mostly concentrated in downtown or near downtown. Is this a good or a bad thing for Calgarian artists and lovers of art? In this article, the pros and cons will be discussed uncovering if the effects of the major art centres and events being concentrated in downtown instead of spread throughout Calgary are a positive or negative thing.
Building a citywide community
Calgary being separated by quadrants has greatly affected the ecosystem of the city. People that live far off in different parts of the city probably don’t know what’s happening in other parts. This can be neighbourhood to neighbourhood, though mainly quadrant to quadrant. People in the NW might not know what’s happening in the NE and vice versa. Having major art centres downtown may not solve the whole problem of disconnect but it can definitely help. Having people congregate downtown, whether for an art gallery or a concert can help decrease the gap through engagement. Especially if the artist or artists are local. Through the art, people can have a look into neighbourhood’s or a quadrant’s way of life.
Although major downtown art centres can help citywide engagement, the concentration of artists can make for heavy competition. While artists that could’ve been celebrated in their own communities, now might be overlooked on the main stage. Art pieces that are favourite picks might not even be better, they might just be mainstream.
Yes, increased competition can happen and the scales can be tipped. But having the art centres concentrated in the heart of the city will help Calgary more than hurt it. Building an audience that stretches across the city should be a thought in local artists minds. Community art centres should not be neglected either. Building a fanbase in one’s community by having a personal rapport with them (something people might not have downtown) is equally important.