Disclaimer: The Long Version

Anyone still visiting this blog despite its recent dearth of new content will notice a new addition in the sidebar in the form of a disclaimer. While my new role as Executive Director of the Hamilton Arts Council has made free blogging time hard to come by, I do intend to resume posting activities here very soon and want to ensure that everyone understands the distinction to be made between myself and the organization that I serve.

Before I came into this job, I was a visual artist and a freelance critical writer with a history of publishing essays and reviews, both of which have fed into the evolving shape of this blog since I first started nearly four years ago now. Adding my role with the Hamilton Arts Council to that mix will no doubt bring yet another shift in the local scenery, one that is difficult to define this early in the job – though I predict that whatever gets written here, it will happen less frequently than it did in my unemployed heydays.

With less time to devote to this space, I also think it’s fair to say that what manages to break its way through the rush of my commitments to the Hamilton Arts Council and manifest itself in written form on this blog will have come from the heart as much as the head – whether whimsical or serious, whether sharing from my studio or reflecting on Canada’s cultural landscape as a whole, I will continue to speak from my passion for the arts. It’s the same passion I possessed as a solitary creature unattached to any cause or constituency, a concern that comes from being an artist and writer trying to make her way through this world.

I firmly believe that this perspective is part of what will guide me through my work with the Hamilton Arts Council; that said, Hamilton Arts Council does not guide my work as an artist or writer. The exhibitions I will participate in over the coming months (more on those later) will reflect the same views I held as an artist prior to taking on my current role; likewise, this blog will continue to express the same views I hold as an individual who lives a creative life beyond the bounds of any organization. For this reason, I trust to the intelligence of my readers to be able to acknowledge and accept that what I write here – in the past, present, and future – are my words alone, and not those of the Hamilton Arts Council.

Mervyn Peake’s sketches of Fuchsia Groan and Steerpike for ‘Titus Groan’ (Source: lateralaction.com)

Being the sort of artist I was to begin with and remain to this day, approaching the challenge of redefining the Hamilton Arts Council puts me in mind of one among many stirring passages Mervyn Peake wrote in The Gormenghast Trilogy‘s first book, Titus Groan:

The love of the painter standing alone and staring, staring at the great coloured surface he is making. Standing with him in the room the rearing canvas stares back with tentative shapes halted in their growth, moving in a new rhythm from floor to ceiling. The twisted tubes, the fresh paint squeezed and smeared across to dry upon his palette. The dust beneath the easel. The paint has edged along the brushes’ handles. The white light in a northern sky is silent. The window gapes as he inhales his world. His world: a rented room, and turpentine. He moves towards his half-born. He is in love.

One of many visions I have for my half-born is that the redesigned website of the Hamilton Arts Council will include its own blog, for which I will be but one contributor among many voices that can and should speak for our organization. It’s not a task fit for a singular ego, and certainly not one I would presume to undertake in this space – like the flawed, romantic heroine whose experience Peake relates here, this home is mine, and mine alone.

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