May 19 2020

A word from the executive director

 

We have all been weathering a storm over the past two months. Every day brings emotional ups and downs. Many have lost their incomes, some are experiencing loneliness or despair, and others have unfortunately lost loved ones. This crisis has drawn our attention to human frailty, but also to human strength and generosity. Artists have quickly organized to offer performances across alleys or on balconies, bringing smiles and good cheer to neighbours. Arts lovers have converted tickets for shows, events, and festivals into donations. Experienced arts professionals have donated their time and talent to help organizations paralyzed by the crisis.

 

The pandemic took us all by surprise but also generated spontaneous offers motivated by the desire to do good and do better. And it is in this same spirit that the entire Conseil des arts de Montréal staff has been working since day one. Given the scope of the crisis for Montréal’s arts community, we quickly realized that a compassionate and concerted response was essential. The three arts councils have coordinated to issue grants to artists, collectives, and organizations as soon as possible. For our part, 76 percent of our 2020 grants have already been issued.

 

As Conseil president, Jan-Fryderyk, has pointed out, it is crucial to stay in tune with the community’s needs. Which is why, at the end of March, our entire staff mobilized to have person-to-person conversations, making over 300 phone calls to cultural workers and artists to get a sense of the situation in the community (survey morale and needs, get ideas about measures and actions to take). In April, we also had a meeting with professional groups and associations supported by the Conseil; an article below outlines the issues identified during these informative discussions. I wish to thank the representatives from all these organizations for their time.

 

We have a long road ahead of us, and we are working for you, as always, because we know how long it will take to rebuild Montréal’s arts community. Please know that the CAM will be there with you to the best of its ability. Best of luck to you all.

Nathalie Maillé