Not so long ago, while sitting idle in stalled city traffic, I saw something I’d seen many times before, and will likely keep seeing time and again.
You’ve probably seen it too – that driver, alone behind the wheel, performing a drum solo on his steering wheel.
And this drum solo was truly epic. Hands furious with rhythm, head bobbing and shaking, the occasional crash of hovering air cymbal. This man – maybe a musician but more likely not – was fully immersed in the music seeping from his car stereo, filling a pause in time with a head-thrashing, arm-flailing performance for no one but himself.
That energy is what Hamilton Arts Week aims to unleash. All Hamiltonians have that creative spark that won’t hold still for any red light. Hamilton Arts Week is all about helping everyone connect with that spark, either as a renewal of interest or a discovery made for the first time.
Culture doesn’t just happen in on the buzzing streets of our monthly Art Crawl. It can be more intimate. It can happen outside the downtown core. Our schedule of events for this first-ever Hamilton Arts Week collects a dizzying range of artistic activity taking place across our city. You’ll find orchestral music in Dundas, jazz in Ancaster, child-friendly arts activities in Gage Park on top of the many other exhibitions, performances, literary readings, workshops and open studios to be experienced throughout the week.
This is an outstanding year to be launching Hamilton Arts Week, at a time when the City of Hamilton has increased its investment in the arts for the first time since the turn of the millennium. Now more than ever, the arts are receiving their due recognition as a transformative force in our city. Increased funding will go a long way to help the arts thrive for years to come, but unlike that solo air drummer in his car, the arts need an audience to truly come alive.
For this first year of Hamilton Arts Week, my challenge to all of you is simply this – to find one new experience from the many on offer, perhaps in a neighbourhood other than your own, and experience something in the arts that will ignite that spark of excitement and make you wonder what else Hamilton has waiting to be discovered. That first step may well be the green light leading down many creative roads in the years to come.