Creating Culture

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The other day I was thinking about how culture is created. A big picture topic for sure but I was thinking more about little movements, little movements that have big consequences.

The Beat movement for instance, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and crew. A fairly small group overall but the even now when almost all the originals are dead the work they created is still read and the culture around them emulated.

Vancouver is renowned in the art world right now but it started with a handful of photographers such as Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace and Rodney Graham.

My friend Ian Ferguson recently moved to Victoria with his wife Kirsten Van Ritzen. They are both writers, actors, directors etc. Ian has teamed up with local theatre guy Les Bland and formed a tv production company. Ian has also formed a comedy improv troupe Sin City and Kirsten has started up a series of standup comedy workshops. These three people in a few short months have set the stage for the emergence of a culture of acting and comedy. I said to Ian a few weeks ago that in five years we could be seeing a whole group of actors and comics and it will all come back to three people.

Two years ago photography was an afterthought at best in Victoria. There were (are) talented photographers of all stripes around but nothing to bring them together. One gallery, Dales, was showing photography on a regular basis but there was no single institution dedicated to photography.

That all changed a year and half ago with two people Quinton Gordon and Diana Millar and the opening of their gallery and workshop space Luz Gallery. Luz has shown a variety of photographers and styles, they’ve held workshops with both local and out of town photographers.

The results of all that have been a revitalized and energized local photo community. Victoria is now better known to other photographers and links have been forged with photo galleries and communities in other cities. Other local galleries are programming photography exhibitions. Local photographers are creating new work and booking shows.

Again that all comes back to two people. Two people creating a culture.

What can you create?

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