Is art for a few?


Venue: Studio Bell, Home of The National Music Center, Calgary, AB. Canada.Concert with Calgary Latin Orchestra,
Venue: Studio Bell, Home of The National Music Center, Calgary, AB. Canada. Concert with Calgary Latin Orchestra,

On this occasion, I would like to touch on a topic that may be controversial. A few years ago, when I began my career as an arts manager at the Faculty of Accounting and Administration with the ABACO cultural project. I used to get very stressed and exhausted because I wanted all the cultural events I scheduled – as part of my coordination of programming and cultural promotion in the program- to be SOLD OUT and full, and I wanted all the attendees to be happy without being forced to attend the theatre in exchange for an extra point in a grade in X class. I wanted everyone to leave with a smile and to have lines and lines of people from outside the faculty who went to that play to that photography or painting exhibition or to that short film festival I had planned with so much passion and dedication for almost a year ahead. But that was not the case; in many cases, the venue was not full, or if it was, it was with students who were there for a grade or because they were asked to do so as a requirement. Although in the end, in most cases, the attendees were thrilled and took away something to reflect on, that was enough for me to continue my path in cultural programming at a business school. 

However, once, the initiator of the ABACO program, my teacher, colleague and friend Adalberto Martinez, maybe to encourage me and not ‘throw in the towel’ told me: ‘Art is for a few. Art does not fill stadiums’; after that day, those words always echo in my mind when I attend a great concert or play, and the room is half full or when I see colleagues trying to place tickets for their next opening that they have put together with so much effort, passion and dedication. I don’t know if it is a phrase of consolation or encouragement. However, I would like to leave it to you, my readers, who may or may not be ‘art people,’ and tell me if you believe that art is for everyone or not, and if it is. So, why are there empty theatres then? Could it be because we need to develop more audiences? Anyway, with that reflection, I invite you to comment and start a conversation.


Jack Singer Hall, Arts Commons. Calgary, AB. Canada.
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