Essay submitted by
Managing Director, Art City
Artistic Director, Art City
Art City is founded on the philosophy that artists are important change agents in our community.
As worldbuilders, artists have unique opportunities to vision, model and create new futures. This alchemy is not only for the (“capital A”) artists, however. Everyone has the capacity to create and should use it, especially when designing our world for the next 100 years. So many of the challenges we face today are mired in a lack of creativity, whether it is inherited binaries that serve to divide us, or embedded inequities that have been accepted as the norm for far too long.
We all know that any actions we take or do not take now will affect the future, be it minutes or years from the present. That is why Art City programming is designed to help equip participants with a sense of belonging, self-worth, and confidence in their own creative voice. It is an investment of time and care into the kind of world we want to live in.
An art project is a model for building resiliency. It requires a vision and action. As we create, we encounter unexpected challenges and must adjust our methods and unlearn habits in order to find innovative ways to achieve our goals. Then we bring that new knowledge into our practice and develop mastery of it. These are transferable skills!
What do we really want Winnipeg to look like 100 years from now? When envisioning the future, we have to be ready to accept responsibility for our actions or our lack of actions. We have to ask questions of ourselves and commit to answering them truthfully.
Finally, we need to ask – and more importantly listen – to youth in our communities. Their perspectives are rich and they eagerly seek answers to complex questions. We need to do everything we can to support young people, beyond meeting their basic rights, to empower them to dream and generate the sustainable and equitable future we all need.
Eddie Ayoub is an artist and 30-year participant in Winnipeg’s art community.
He is Artistic Director of Wanda Koop’s community art organization, Art City.
Joining as a volunteer in 2003, Ayoub has directed Art City programming since 2007. He is co-chair of the Manitoba Artist-Run Centres Coalition (MARCC), representing Manitoba as chair of the national Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA) Board. Ayoub is also a member of the Youth Agencies Alliance (YAA) Executive Committee.
Josh Ruth is a self-proclaimed art enabler. As Managing Director of Art City, he is in service of anyone seeking opportunities to express themselves creatively.
Music was Josh’s first love, and he is a cofounder of Corn Beef & Cabbage, a neo-futurist theatre group based in his home state of Ohio, as well as the Winnipeg-based drawing collective Places for Peanuts.
He is actively working for the infiltration of art into all imaginable facets of society.
“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.” – Stephen King