More inclusive arts plan needed
18 Sep 2017
Re: “Council takes another swing at fixing controversial public art policy,” Sept. 13.
When I became the executive director of the Indefinite Arts Centre, I was shocked to learn that Canada falls far behind other countries when it comes to the promotion and inclusion of disability arts — this includes providing the right kind of platform, where individuals with disabilities can learn, grow and be celebrated as artists. And that Calgary has some of the lowest funding for the arts in Canada.
With the current controversy on selection and funding of public art, and of funding of the arts in Calgary in general, the upcoming municipal election provides an opportunity to discuss arts programming for all Calgarians.
Artists with disabilities — especially those with developmental disabilities — have a hard time even finding the right place or support to realize that they indeed have remarkable artistic talents. When I share the artwork created by our organization’s artists, people are often surprised, sometimes enamoured, and even embarrassed by their acknowledged ignorance of the talent that lies in the disability community.
As council has suspended its public arts policy, now is the time for the private and public sectors to come together in implementing a more inclusive plan for the arts in Calgary that include accessibility and inclusion for all Calgarians.
Jung-Suk Ryu is executive director of the Indefinite Arts Centre.