In January 2004 after the town’s municipal elections, which saw several candidates run on a pro- arts platform, the new government called for the formation of a local arts group to enhance Carleton Place’s profile as a well-rounded and progressive community. The Carleton Place Arts Committee was born.
That first year saw many volunteer members work the endless hours needed to establish the group as an active body whose mission was to “enhance and encourage a vibrant social environment through the arts.” Original participants were Lorrie Beaton, Bill Bousada, Carolyn Ciccoritti, Jan Ferguson, Karen Gormley, Gloria Gray, Graham Ingram, Kerry Ingram, Ina Jackson, Gerald Kirby, Wendy LeBlanc, Amy Leindecker, Marianne Mullan, Pat Schoular, Dale Scott, Leslie White-MacGregor.
The committee collected information on local artists, arts organizations and venues so as to compile a data base for the Town’s website to provide visibility for the arts and to facilitate interaction amongst the artists themselves as well as with their audience. The C.P. Arts Committee also presented a successful fundraising concert by songstress Maria Antonakos which generated monies to establish an awards fund for area artists pursuing their craft.
By the end of the year the C.P. Arts Committee decided that the community and the municipal government would benefit from a group working in partnership with, but not under the jurisdiction of, the Town. The most convincing argument for this transformation was the potential to apply for outside funds available only to autonomous groups. This and the inevitable shedding of the entanglements of local government red tape led to a request by the committee to Town Council asking for its support for this metamorphosis. Blessings were granted and the steps toward incorporation began.
Arts Carleton Place officially took flight in the fall of 2005 and continues to recognize, celebrate and promote the unique artistic activity in the vicinity. With an eye to ‘empowering artists and area residents through the arts’ this busy group promises to raise awareness of the arts, develop partnerships within the community and identify and develop the area’s artistic capacity to its full potential.
To this end Arts Carleton Place has pledged to build on the power of the arts to invigorate the community while contributing to the economic development of the town. The key to sustainability is in establishing the network of funding which will feed the arts in all its many forms into the future.