Media Release – August 31, 2020
For Immediate Release
Peterborough, ON – The Electric City Culture Council (EC3) launches its latest Peterborough Arts Alive initiative today, ESSENTIAL, a photography project by local artist Julie Gagne. This series of 17 photos, depicting 20 local artists at home during the pandemic, is an eloquent testimonial to the role of the arts in our lives and to the people who create our vibrant cultural life. This crisis has made us aware, as never before, that art is essential.
Each photo in ESSENTIAL features an artist in their home or workplace, captured on rooftops, isolated behind windows, on balconies, in doorways, all at a safe physical distance, and is accompanied by a statement from the artists about their experience of the pandemic.
ESSENTIAL calls attention to the precarious situation that artists and arts organizations face during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario continues in Stage 3 of reopening, many options for live public performance and other indoor gatherings remain unavailable. Organizations and facilities are trying to grapple with the loss of revenue and an uncertain future. Individual artists have lost fees, sales, and jobs.
“Julie’s photos made us think. We have all benefited from the work of artists during the pandemic: we’ve listened to music, read books, watched films, toured virtual exhibitions, tuned in to living room concerts. What has it been like for the artists? Will people remember how essential the arts were to getting through the pandemic when it comes to recovery funding and budget planning? Will arts organizations be supported in a robust recovery plan?” —Su Ditta, Executive Director, EC3
ESSENTIAL was inspired by Julie Gagne’s Within series of photo portraits taken during the COVID-19 lockdown, similarly photographed from exteriors, including one of an artist. These striking images caught the eye of EC3’s Executive Director Su Ditta, and EC3 commissioned Gagne do a similar series focusing exclusively on local artists. Peterborough theatre artist Sarah McNeilly curated and coordinated the project. Rob Wilkes of Big Sky Design is responsible for the project’s layout and design.
“We are all pursuing art in the face of unprecedented challenges. As restrictions continue to lift, most of Peterborough is able to return to work. That is not the case for our local artists; they continue to experience limitations and face challenges. This series is a testament to their resilience.” —Julie Gagne, Photographer
The ESSENTIAL project is available to view on the EC3 web site at https://www.ecthree.org/program/essential-project/, and KawarthaNOW will be releasing the images on their website over the next two months. (Two promotional images are being made available for public release, and are included at the bottom of this release.)
ESSENTIAL is the latest project in EC3’s Peterborough Arts Alive suite of COVID-19 response and recovery programs and services. Other programs include the Peterborough Arts Alive Fund, a fundraising effort for strategic recovery grants for local arts organizations; Culturecast Reprise, a playlist of interviews with local artists pulled from EC3’s Trent Radio show and podcast The Electric City Culturecast; Conversations on Art in a Pandemic (Peterborough Arts Alive on SLACK), an online discussion space for and by artists; Digital Uplift, which provided consultations on digital skills development for almost 20 local artists and arts, culture, and heritage organizations; and a series of Micro Subsistence Grants for local professional artists.
The Electric City Culture Council (EC3) is a not-for-profit, arts, culture and heritage (ACH) organization providing advocacy, programs and services that support the ACH sector in Peterborough, Ontario and the surrounding region.