Let’s Do This!
Members of Fredericton’s Shifty Bits Cult are hosting a public meeting next week to discuss the state of creative arts collaboration within the city, among other things. The concept is simple and the goal is to get more artists working together. The theme – we’re all in this together so lets support each other.
Shifty Bits is an artist’s collective and their annual summer circus (festival) was born in 2012 as a response to an apparent need for self-recognition within the arts and music scene of Fredericton. Not unlike their friends in the FeelsGood collective, Shifty Bits are out to make things happen.
“The Shifty Bits Cult is a collection of four local bands,” said musician and visual artist, Penelope Stevens, “Motherhood, The Waking Night, Captain III and Sam Salmon. And our main beef is that you don’t have to leave Fredericton to be cool and/or successful. It’s a classic New Brunswick mentality to think that if you want to do anything worthwhile, you should move to Halifax, Montreal, or Toronto. We’re calling bullshit on that, and trying to work with the creative minds of this city to change that mentality once and for all. If we play our cards right, we’ll have bands from big cities moving to Fredericton to ‘make it’. It’s not that far-fetched!
“We’re interested in promoting the young, experimental artists of Fredericton, and encouraging strong relationships between artists and musicians.”
The Community Arts Gathering is set to take place Tuesday February 24, 2015, 116 Smythe Street at 6:00pm and is open to all artists interested in working together to strengthen the community.
“We’ve invited anyone who has any interest in the Fredericton’s music and arts scene to join us for an open discussion,” said Penelope Stevens, one of the event’s organizers. “It really is open to anyone, but I suspect most participants will fall within the 18-35 range, and have some ties to emerging contemporary art and music. That’s really where our interests lie; as much as would love to have the input of retired hobby painters or classical composers, that’s not really our crew. But if you’re a retired hobby painter and you want to give us hooligans some advice, come on down!”
Brydon Crain is a founding member of the group and an active musician in Fredericton. He feels collaboration is the key to community strength.
“I think collaboration is very important in art,” said Brydon Crain, one of the group’s members. “There are very few people in the world who are talented enough to rely solely on their own opinion, so it’s important to be around people that you work well with in terms of efficiency and overall pleasantness, and who’s ideas and opinions you trust. Fredericton has a lot of talent and it’s a small enough arts community that people know each other or can at least get in contact easily. We also have the advantage of people generally getting along and being friendly here, which makes pulling everyone together a lot easier.”
“I’ve read every single Home Scene that has been posted on Grid City, and almost every artist interviewed references our need for increased collaboration and cross-discipline support as a way to keep our scene thriving. So we know we need it, but how do we make it happen? That’s what we’re going to ask at our upcoming community arts gathering. There’s a distinct difference between recognizing a problem and recognizing solutions, and endeavoring to increase collaboration really ought to be addressed collaboratively.
“There are some infrastructure needs that beg addressing – practice spaces/studios, alternative venues/galleries, recording studios – Fredericton faces big deficiencies in accessible, affordable space for artists. I think if we can solve some of these organizational shortages collectively, collaboration and innovation will follow suit.”
See you at the gathering!