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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 13, No. 4


by Wah Keung Chan / December 13, 2007

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The big question following last month’s Montreal Cultural Metropolis Conference held last November 12th and 13th is whether anything concrete will come out of it. Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay and all the major ministers from the other levels of government participated and several major announcements were made, including a $120-million injection to jump-start the Quartier des spectacles. The main thrust of the conference was the 10-year 2007-2017 Action Plan to keep Montreal a cultural capital just in time for the city’s 375th birthday in 2017. This plan is based on five strategic approaches: enhance access to culture, invest in the arts and culture, improve the cultural quality of the living environment, enhance Montreal’s status in Canada and internationally, and secure the means of a cultural metropolis for the city.

Culture Montreal President Simon Brault launched the Montreal
conference by emphasizing the need to “democratize” the arts, to stimulate the public’s interest and to draw greater attendance to arts events. Meanwhile Anne-Marie Lizotte, past president of the Montreal Youth Symphony Orchestra, lamented how inadequate arts education in schools continues to adversely impact the arts. I found it quite ironic that among the list of speakers at the conference, not one directly represented specialized arts publications.

If we are to educate and inform the public on the virtues and pleasures of the arts, specialized publications that already have the content to educate and promote more interest in the arts must be empowered to take a larger role in the arts scene by being more readily available. For this to happen, for the arts to be truly “democratized,” governments must take leadership and clearly earmark funds and a portion of their marketing budgets to enable wider circulation of cultural publications. Educating and informing the public and promoting accessibility through wide distribution has always been the key motivation for our family of magazines La Scena Musicale, The Music Scene, La SCENA and our award-winning website, scena.org.

For this second issue of La SCENA, I’ve had the pleasure to sit with
award-winning filmmaker Denys Arcand who reflects on his career, his
creative process and his love of opera. Also in this issue is the debut of our series on arts philanthropy where we speak with Noël Spinelli as he turns 80. Consult our award-winning website scena.org for expanded coverage of the arts as well as mySCENA.org, a new interactive arts site.

With the upcoming holiday and gift-giving season, consider the gift that keeps on giving year-round by delighting those special people in you life with subscriptions to La Scena Musicale or La SCENA. On behalf of my dedicated and hard-working team of staff and volunteers, I extend to you and yours, the warmest holiday greetings. Have a joyful 2008 filled with arts and music!

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