You open the door

by Jini Stolk

Ottawa is beginning some exciting diversity initiatives spearheaded by Charles Smith of CPAMO (Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Ontario) – including, for those who remember it, a newcomer artist jam on April 16th reminiscent of TTA/TAPA’s old Loon Café.

I’ve recently been inspired by Adam Thurman’s passionate and provoking post in Mission Paradox about his own attitude to arts/diversity.

He says that the challenge to recognize and empower people of color, younger people and those with different ideas is the elephant in the room for the nonprofit arts sector – some of which has yet to embrace where the world is clearly going. “At the core, it’s a very simple idea.  You open the door. You share power and responsibility with those who don’t necessary look or think like you.  You continue to do this until it becomes an institutional habit…I’ve never seen an organization who honestly wanted a different, more robust, more diverse culture fail at the task…I’ve never seen a token, bullshit effort win over the long term.”

In Ottawa on April 16th, an opportunity to open the door: MASC Mondays, an informal showcase convened by the Multicultural Arts in Schools and Communities, is going all out in collaboration with the Coalition of Newcomer Canadians for Arts and Culture on an evening filled with exciting performances by artists from Ottawa’s diverse communities. 7:30, at the Arrow and the Loon Restaurant and Pub in the Glebe

On April 17th: Ottawa’s arts leaders will gather to share information about their diversity programming and plan a proposed conference on pluralism in the Ottawa region.


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