Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog.
As you probably remember, a few weeks ago there was a decision to remove the word culture from the relevant government department, and a number of people who were concerned gave feedback to the minister. I wrote a posting and a letter and would like to share part of that with you.
Culture is not an artistic endeavour, a song or a painting, a dance or a sculpture, a play or a novel. Culture is the way we live our every day lives. Art is simply one manifestation of culture, a way we express who we are, a way to show the world what we value, the way to ensure that every next generation remembers our ethos, our triumphs, our failures, our stories, and how we make sense of our place in the world. Artists may be one group of people who help communicate these ideals in a more tangible form, BUT artists are not the bearers and makers of culture - every person who has ever proudly claimed this province as home is a contributor to our culture and a liver of our culture. The word culture matters. It should be the single most important word on the minds and in the hearts of our leaders. The definition of culture is “the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts”. How can our future be visioned without a touchstone as a guide and should that touchstone not be what we value as a people? And is that not our culture? To our political leaders, whom I deeply respect and for whom I am very grateful for your steadfast work on behalf of our people and our place - please reconsider the decision to remove the word culture from the department responsible for caring for its present and future, and honouring its past - our present, our future, our past…all of us.
Kellie Walsh is the Artistic Director of Shallaway Youth Choir, Founder and Artistic Director of Lady Cove Women’s Choir, and Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of Newman Sound Men’s Choir. Shallaway is an internationally award winning and celebrated youth choir.