by Jini Stolk
It’s been four years since I began writing this blog. Four whole years? Only four years? It’s hard to say which is the more accurate expression of how I feel about this engrossing labour of love, which has so far resulted in over 250 posts on the art of managing the arts.
I continue to feel grateful to the Toronto Arts Foundation for allowing me to make such a smooth transition from Creative Trust – a project that still lives and grows through the blog. I’ve based many of my posts on what I experienced, observed and learned during those ten exhilarating years. Unexpectedly, this work has also allowed me to feel at ease as the Toronto Arts Foundation’s “research fellow” – because, in fact, a great deal of research goes into these posts. I’ve been inspired by following other writers in our field and staying on top of significant research on the arts, not only in Canada but around the world (in fact too rarely in Canada, but that’s another story…) I’ve been able to take the time to make connections between theory, research and practical advice that I hope might make life easier for people working behind the scenes.
I was recently mocked by somebody I love for getting excited about an article in the Globe and Mail’s business pages about balanced decision making, combining scientific and artistic ways of thinking. Okay, I see their point…but I still think it’s worth working into a post…
My first post was titled “Why a blog?”. I said four years ago that “The reason why we’re starting a blog is because…capacity building is an ongoing process of learning, change and growth. We want to engage in a wider discussion about capacity, audiences and facilities in the arts; to build a broader community of learning around these crucial issues; and to discover increased opportunities for sharing and collaboration.”
That still sounds right. I haven’t veered from this direction, although I’m sometimes now looking wider afield for ideas and examples on topics that I find to be of absorbing interest, and filtering them through my sometimes opinionated filter.
But of course (as you will have noticed) I’m most often inspired by the work I see and the conversations I have with people working right now, in the arts, in Toronto. Your words of support and appreciation are always energizing, and I hope that with this blog I’m adequately expressing my own support and appreciation for all the great and important work you do.