Established to foster the arts in the city, the Hamilton Arts Council offers a special week long schedule of events for Arts Week. With a hundred events scheduled within the frame work of Hamilton Arts Week, this Saturday marks the launch party to introduce the Hamilton Arts Council event.
“We have as much talent as any other city but we’ve got to celebrate it,” says Deborah McIvor, HAC Executive Director. “The Hamilton Arts Council was set up to nurture that art and grow audiences and celebrate the community. We want to connect people and bring people and resources together so that Hamilton raises its profile not only on the local map but also across the province, the country and more. The internet age is here and I think Hamilton can hold its own.
“The Hamilton Arts Council has been around for fifty years with numbers of people being involved in projects, mostly advocacy based, in terms of building artists, successful careers — we do a wide range of initiatives to raise the profile of arts in Hamilton,” adds McIvor. “With Arts Week we put a stronger spotlight on a lot of events and with the launch we hope to make a big splash to introduce that. The Saturday launch party is going to have 20 bands, Hamilton Aerial Group, Indigenous drumming, over 50 vendors, a kids arts zone — more things than you can imagine to do between 2pm and 11pm. You could just stay there all day. There’s something for everyone and it’s family friendly during the day. We’ve got a free shuttle stopping at City Hall and the Seedworks taking people to the Cotton Factory every half hour until 6pm and then every hour up until 11pm.”
There are more than a hundred events happening across that week with dance, art, music and more happening in spaces across the city. The launch party will feature Wax Mannequin, Alfie Smith, Deeps, Michelle Titian, Tiny Bill Cody, Matty Simpson, Trout Lily, the Bel Canto Strings, Tannis Slimmon, hip hop and salsa dancers, and an Indigenous drum circle. This year, the Hamilton Arts Council is adding important initiatives on indigenous arts.
“The Ontario Arts Council is supporting us with the indigenous iniatives and National Indigenous day is June 21 and we have a couple of events happening,” says McIvor. “The HAC is partnering with the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre for a concert by Logan Staats on Wednesday, June 19 in The Music Hall with Lacey Hill. As well Rod Nettagog will lead a showcase of Indigenous drumming, singing and hoop dancing on Thursday, June 20 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton before a special screening of the film “The Road Forward. The HAC is also partnering with Artsfest and the Westdale Theatre to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day Friday, June 21, with a concert by Susan Aglukark and Amanda Rheaume at the Westdale. Advance tickets available online at thewestdale.ca.”
All scheduling and costing for the myriad of events running for the seven day event will be available at the Hamilton Arts Council website and otherwise.
“If you go to hamiltonartscouncil.ca there’s a downloadable list of all of the events but we’re also distributing schedules across the city so there are tons of ways to find out what’s going on,” says McIvor. “The chefs from Chez Dine and Nelly James will be doing a special menu for the day and they’re going to co–ordinate their food offerings to match each musical performance.
“Kids under 10 are free but all the money is going to pay for the performers so it’s not a fundraiser but we want to make sure whoever participates goes home with something in their pockets,” adds McIvor. “We’re hoping to match the 1500 attendance from last year with probably a lot of families during the day and then a different crowd in the evening. DJ Aerlie Wild is going to make the courtyard like Cirque de Soleil with her light show that I hear is the same used by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. It’s a homegrown atmosphere at this event. It’s warm and welcoming on private property with mostly local performers and vendors. It’s a small town feel in the big city. Anyone who wants to support the arts in Hamilton should come out. If you don’t think you’re creative or want to delve into that side of yourself, you should come out.”
The Fifth Annual Hamilton Arts Week runs June 14 to 21 with the Week launch party is Saturday, June 15, at The Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Ave N), with a wide variety of art, music, theatre, dance and crafts for all ages running from 2 to 11 p.m. Admission is $5. Click on hamiltonartscouncil.ca