June 14, 2012 • Podcasts
Art, Community, Labour and Money
Transcription by Victoria O'Meara
'Art, Community, Labour and Money' is a podcast about what it means to be a community artist. Anna Camilleri, artistic director of Red Dress Productions, and co-organizer of 'Work in Progress' - a panel about community engaged artists and their labour - tells us what's up with unions, payment, and definitions of work in the arts sector.
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Sarah Feldbloom: Hi, I’m Sarah Feldbloom, Shameless Magazine’s Web Producer. There are thousands of creative young people in Canada who are following their passions to find themselves in economically destabilizing careers. I’m one of them, and I have dozens of friends and colleagues who are in the same fragile situation. In the current issue of our print mag, which is themed “money,” we’ve featured an awesome pull-out poster and set of comics by Marta Chudolinska about supporting yourself financially while working as an artist. We’ve also included an advice column, written by Shameless’s Columns editor Shaunga Tagore. She interviewed Gein Wong, community artist and artistic director of Asian Arts Freedom School about whether it’s possible to make a living as an artist.
Those of us who work in community arts face a unique set of challenges. As this is an emerging discipline, the expectations and conventions around labour practices are still very much in the process of being negotiated and developed. This is difficult. But what are those of us who are in love with this work to do?
On May 7th Anna Camilleri, artistic director of Red Dress Productions, and Florencia Berinstein of the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, in collaboration with the Neighbourhood Arts Network, facilitated ‘Work in Progress – A panel about community engaged artists and the labour that they do. I spoke with visual artist, author and community arts practitioner Anna Camilleri in the week leading up to the panel, about why she feels it’s important to discuss and organize around this issue.
[Sound up on Interview]
Anna Cammalleri: My name is Ana Cammalleri and I am an artist – multi-disciplinary artist – and founding artistic director of Redress Productions. We work in performance and then also large-scale visual public artworks. Community engagement is kind of a thread that runs through all of the work that we do. We’re working with Mayworks Festival on an event called Work in Progress.
SF: Would you mind describing what community art is for someone who might not understand the distinction from what it means to be a community artist as opposed to another kind of artist?