Hamilton has a strong, vibrant arts and culture scene and Hamilton Arts Week plans to highlight it with over 100 scheduled events between June 2-9, 2018. The festival is in its fifth year and is presented by Hamilton Arts Council (one of the oldest community arts councils in Ontario) with support from the City of Hamilton, First Ontario Credit Union, Luna Station, and The Cotton Factory. The festival is in line with the council's mission to strengthen the role of arts and culture in the City of Hamilton by making the arts accessible and relevant to the entire community.
Many may be familiar with Supercrawl the festival that expands on the city's monthly Art Crawls on James Street N, both important events for Hamilton that build community pride and the local economy. While Hamilton Arts Week has a similar function, it differs in that it is a city wide event. It not only acknowledges arts and culture and galleries along the James Street N strip, it aims to be inclusive. Arts and cultural organizations, artists, and communities are encouraged to celebrate throughout Hamilton. Hamilton Arts Council Executive Director Annette Paiement sees it as an opportunity for the city to come together, eliminate barriers, and share cultural pride. The word "artist" usually brings to mind the visual arts. In late 2017, Hamilton Arts Council launched the I Am An Artist campaign to build awareness around the diverse disciplines of art and culture in the city, promoting a broader definition of "artist" and encompassing all makers – theatre, literature, dance, music, film and media arts, as well as contemporary craft practices, tattoo, fashion, landscaping and architecture. Arts and culture are integral to day to day living and Hamilton Arts Week is a kind of extension of that awareness campaign.
Above: Some of the performers that will be at Hamilton Arts Week, including Bel Canto Strings, The Spirit Bear Drummers, and Lazo
More than 50 arts organizations are joining in the Hamilton Arts Council's efforts to ignite Hamilton and build a strong, sustainable city-wide celebration that is welcoming and inclusive. The Hamilton Arts Awards will take place in the middle of Hamilton Arts Week, furthering the celebration of the city's creative talent.
Arts and culture are thriving, and the city's revitalization is directly linked to the cultural sector. The Ontario Arts Council recently released a report showing findings from Statistics Canada. Ontario's arts and culture sector represents $27.5 billion 0r 3.7% of the province's GDP and almost 287,000 jobs. Paiement says "There is a movement to brand Hamilton as a Music City, our cultural currency is robust and steeped in history. I feel we are a Creativity City that encompasses a broader spectrum of the arts; culinary arts, literature, visual arts, architecture and design. We are booming with creativity! Celebrations like Hamilton Arts Week, Supercrawl and Art Crawl are necessary."
The festival kicks off on June 2, 2018 with an opening celebration at 4 pm at The Cotton Factory, 270 Sherman Ave. N. This FREE event features a Night Market, Interactive Installations and Performances featuring the Hamilton Aerial Group, TH&B Collective and more! Outdoor Screening of METRIC: DREAMS so REAL after sunset followed by a dance party and live performances in the Mule Spinner! Food presentations by Nellie James and Jonny Blonde Food Truck.
The majority of festival events are free and cover dance, literary events, music, theatre, exhibits, workshops, open studios, community celebrations, visual arts festivities and interventions. There's something for everyone, no matter what your area of interest.