Sunday, June 22, 2008

Culture/Arts

On Friday of last week, I attended the Aboriginal Day celebration at Prince Charles School, along with MLA Doug Elniski, Mayor Mandel and Councillor Hayter. We all thoroughly enjoyed the event which included dancing, singing, drumming and feasting. The sun's rays bounced off the beautiful costumes and every child's face was filled with pride. There was a strong sense of culture and belonging.

In addition to all my trustee-work this final week, I'm also attending the Sterling Awards on Monday night. The Sterlings are Edmonton's theatre awards and a great party to boot. It's a chance for everyone involved to connect, celebrate our work and get decked out in our finest. I'll be wearing a truly glamorous full-length blue gown and sitting with the director and crew of the show I did this year at Northern Light Theatre.

All this reminds me of something I heard last week from one of the EPSB delegation that just returned from China. The trip was filled with excursions and informative sessions. At one school, they witnessed the Chinese tea ceremony, which prompted this person to sigh: "We have no culture." I would beg to differ. When I see the pow wow dancers at Prince Charles, I see culture. When I see my friends creating eco-theatre pieces about the tailing ponds or rap shows about being gay, I see culture. Culture is not just historical tradition; it is an expression of who we are today and how we see tomorrow. And, in the words of Mayor Mandel: "It's essential." Without arts and culture, a city has no soul.

A question for you:
What part should creative expression and appreciation play in education?

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