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2023 in Review for the Culture Alliance

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

This time of the year has us reflecting on what we accomplished in the past year, and what our future hopes and dreams are. The Culture Alliance is pleased with what transpired for us throughout 2023, and we are fortunate to live in an area with such a vibrant array of artists, creatives, and cultural organizations. What a year it has been.

Since joining the Culture Alliance in September 2022, I have been fortunate to work with a dynamic, engaged, and supportive group of committee members and subcommittee members. I have been able to meet and collaborate with community members, artists, creatives, and representatives from various cultural organizations over the past year.


The Culture Alliance hosted the weekly Artrepreneur Program from March to May with a total of 12 participants enrolled. Each artist/creative took a bold step toward developing their art into a business. We had professionals from the community come in to talk about marketing, social media, public speaking, just to name examples of the topics covered throughout the 12-week program. The program culminated in a showcase of artwork and presentations to family, friends, and community members. I am excited when I see the Instagram posts of the participants and see the progress, they are making in growing their businesses. A huge thank you to Roberta Douglas and her team at Georgian Bakery for supplying the cookie tray each week!


We could not finish the year without mentioning the Creative Communities Culture Conference which took place on April 21, 2023, at the Midland Cultural Centre. The planning committee worked collaboratively to put together a great conference with the theme of “Re-engaging Our Cultural Communities.” What a dynamic line-up of speakers for the panels, and a presentation from Volunteer Toronto on volunteerism. Topics included re-energizing our brand, our audiences, and volunteers. Speakers covering diverse topics came from Prince Edward County, Bruce-Grey-Simcoe, Toronto, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Midland, and others. The pandemic impacted the creative economy, and it was noted that communities need to work together to emerge from it successfully. Rogers Community TV recorded the entire conference, and you can watch the five sessions by visiting Rogers TV at https://www.rogerstv.com and type creativecommunitiescultureconference2023 in the search box to find all five sessions, or visit the Culture Alliance website at https://www.culturealliance.ca/conference if you missed it.


The Culture Alliance Committee members participated in numerous events across the Heart of Georgian Bay over the summer by visiting Tay Canada Day, the Métis Rendezvous, Senior’s Info Day in Penetanguishene, Island in the Sun Powwow on Beausoleil First Nation, Festival du Loup in Lafontaine, All Things Canadian in Penetanguishene, and the Tugboat and Ribfest in Midland.  The committee members were out in full force promoting the Culture Alliance and the E-Newsletter. Check out the website to see the winners https://www.culturealliance.ca/e-newsletter-summer-contest-2023


Next came the #30DaysofCulture Scavenger Hunt in which our Cultural Heritage and Asset Map Subcommittee ran a scavenger hunt using the Cultural Assets Map on the website. The Culture Alliance supplied great prizes to win for the top three entries with the most correct entries, and fun was had by all who participated. Participants said they played the game with their parents, and it was a great learning experience providing families with a walk down memory lane along the way. Each day in September a clue was released on social media leading participants to find the location on the map. It was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the Cultural Assets Map to the public. Check out the winners and prize packages won at https://www.culturealliance.ca/30daysofculture-scavenger-hunt


In September we collaborated with our community partners including the Midland Cultural Centre, Midland Public Library, Parks Canada, Saint Marie among the Hurons, Penetanguishene Centennial Museum, and Huronia Museum to bring a week-long series of events highlighting Indigenous Art and Culture by building awareness in our communities. Authors, artists, and cultural organizations came together to highlight Indigenous art and culture. It started with a Sunrise Ceremony, followed by 5 more days including three trips to Georgian Bay Islands National Park, a Flint Knapping workshop, an artist talk and demo at the MCC, author talk, an Indigenous Storytelling and Mystery Painting workshop, the opening of Biizikaaganan at MCC Gallery of Indigenous Art, providing insights into Powwows, Ribbon Skirts and Regalia exhibition to the public, and closed with week with a concert at the MCC.  What a fun week and we hope it is even better in 2024. See our website for pictures of some of the highlights at https://www.culturealliance.ca/indigenousartandcultureawareness


We are extremely grateful to everyone who participated in the “Do You Remember When?” Series 2 videos this past summer and fall. Two community showcases were held to view the videos in November showing videos from Tay and Midland at the Huronia Museum, and Tiny and Penetanguishene at Penetanguishene Centennial Museum. We are appreciative of the demanding, yet incredibly fun work, our volunteers put in to select and interview these folks. It is wonderful to capture these stories (O’Connell Creative) from our community members, and important to preserve them for generations to come. You can find videos from this year, and also the Series 1 vides from 2022 on the Culture Alliance website at https://www.culturealliance.ca/do-you-remember-when


The Culture Alliance Committee also worked on its Strategic Plan for 2023-2028, along with an updated Terms of Reference which appears on the website for the communities to view.


Coming up in 2024 the Culture Alliance will host another Creative Communities Culture Conference in April, along with and Indigenous Art and Culture Awareness Week in September, so stay tuned for more info as we get closer to those dates.


We truly hope to see our community members and visitors to our area in 2024 for our planned events.  Stay tuned by visiting the Culture Alliance on Facebook, Instagram and through the website at https://www.culturealliance.ca Share this QR Code with friends and family to have them sign up for our bi-weekly E-Newsletter, sent the first and third Thursday each month.



I want to wrap this up by wishing you and yours a happy holiday season however you celebrate it, and all the best for a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2024. It has been a pleasure serving the municipalities and their community members that make up the Culture Alliance and look forward to another fantastic year ahead.

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