Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creativity in the City of Guelph

I attended an exciting event last night at the Guelph Youth Music Centre. Our mayor, Karen Farbridge, a vivacious woman with a vision that includes a city as a creative, vibrant community with a rich cultural life, talked about one of her initiatives, “Guelph Creates.” She convened a group of people to talk about creativity in the city.

One of the projects in the city is “1mile2,” or one square mile, launched last night. This is the first phase of what the Musagetes Foundation ( is calling the “Guelph Café,” which is “a program of artistic practices and a weeklong series of conversations and immersions in the city.” 1mile2 is a series of events this year from April to November, and the Café will take place in 2013.

To quote again from the program for last night’s event, “The artists who comprise the 1mile2 program will penetrate our urban spaces, connect backyard agriculture and rural ecology, study our watersheds and the people who live on them, design tools for artistic interventions, and possibly even build new habitats for our endangered urban species.” The project includes artists from Guelph, Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City, Rotterdam, Geneva, London (UK) and Ljubljana.

Mary Mattingly, a New York artist (, gave an illustrated lecture about her work, which takes art out of a traditional framework into the big wide world. She created a liveable sculpture, the Waterpod, a large barge on which she with helpers created a complete living system that included gardens and lovely, healthy chickens.
Mattingly is giving two workshops in the month of April in Guelph.

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