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  • Writer's pictureKerri King

The Canadian Arts Summit: A Weekend Of Inspiration In Banff

A couple of months ago David Moss, the National Director of Culture Days, contacted me with an invitation to present at The Canadian Arts Summit in Banff. Of course, I jumped at the chance! What an honour – to have the opportunity to share Durham Region’s Culture Days story, meet the leaders of Canada’s top 50 arts institutions and visit the incredible Banff Centre who’s tagline is: inspiring creativity. And inspire creativity it did!!

The title of this year’s Canadian Arts Summit was Transformation: Evolution or Revolution? During the welcoming remarks, arts industry leaders such as Jeff Melanson of the Banff Centre and Janice Price of Luminato called on delegates to consider: “How we can show our communities that they matter to us?”

In that instant, the relevance of my presentation was revealed to me. Culture Days provides an extraordinary platform to showcase the talent and creative work of people across our great country. It is a wonderful way for arts organizations to engage and celebrate the creative community by promoting their talents.

Livestream Feed Of The Canadian Arts Summit

I felt compelled to begin my presentation by sharing how Dr. Richard Florida helped to ignite the discussion about the power of the creative economy at our inaugural Art of Transition Symposium in 2009. Durham Region has come a long way since then. We have leveraged and profiled arts and culture in our Region as a key component of our Durham Tourism strategy by initiatives such as Culture Days; and the numbers prove that this strategy has worked beautifully. Our tourism visitation numbers in Durham Region have increased by 43% from 2.9 million visitors in 2008 to 5.1 million visitors in 2011 in just a few short years.

Here is a copy of my presentation:

It was a great pleasure to deliver this presentation in the Pecha Kucha style of 20 slides at 20 seconds per slide. Over 600 attendees joined the delegates at the event via livestream from across the Country. It was challenging to summarize 5 years of our work in 6.5 minutes, but it was so much fun.

Snowboarding Above The Treeline At Goat’s Eye Mountain, Sunshine Village AB

I felt invigorated after my presentation and went on to enjoy a bit of leisure time with my husband Jason. After a couple of visits to the Banff Hot Springs, some snowboarding at Sunshine and an unforgettable dinner The Grizzly House, we both agreed it was the best day of our lives. The Grizzly House specializes in Alberta beef, exotic game meats and seafood. It is a unique place and I would encourage you to check it out if you happen to make it to Banff.

As I prepare to leave the inspiring Banff Centre, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains this morning, I am reminded of the words of our opening keynote at the conference. Dr. Larry Goldman, Chairman of New Jersey Performing Arts Centre (NJPAC) said: “Our jobs are a gift – we are all so fortunate to be in jobs where our internal and social values align with our work.”. This couldn’t be more true for me. I feel grateful every day to be able to do the work that I do. I have felt inspired by my stay in Banff these few days, and my husband and I are already planning our trip back with our two boys.

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