Ontario Arts Council celebrates big 5 – 0


Break out the champagne! The Ontario Arts Council is turning 50.

In a news release, the council said its establishing legislation was given final reading in the Ontario Legislature on this day in 1963, setting up an arts funding body to foster the creation and production of art for the benefit of all Ontarians.

“What started as an idea from a small group of committed volunteers has grown to support a province-wide arts infrastructure that not only contributes to our quality of life but also provides crucial economic benefits,” said OAC chair Martha Durdin in the release.

Last year, the council funded 1,681 artists and 1,125 organizations in support of the creation of more than 12,000 new artistic works.

The OAC assists writers, storytellers and spoken-word artists through its Literature programs, and encourages the development, publication and presentation of new works of literary significance in the province.

Its publishing programs help book publishers develop, print, promote and distribute new literary work, and support magazines that showcase Canadian writers and provide critical commentary on arts and culture. In addition, its Literature Office funds festivals and reading series that present the work of Ontario’s literary writers and publishers.

In coming months, many OAC funding recipients across the province will be marking the birthday with special activities.



Edinburgh to light up with literature


Edinburgh will set itself aglow with literary history next month as part of the Scottish capital’s push to raise its profile as a world cultural centre.

The two-week event, Enlighten, will see animated interpretations of Enlightenment quotations projected onto historic buildings in the city’s New Town area. The words of David Hume, James Hutton, Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson, Adam Smith and Lady Cockburn will be featured.

Six contemporary writers have also been commissioned to record new fiction and poetry that ‘responds to the wisdom” of the Enlightenment figures. The works of Gavin Inglis, William Letford, Kirsty Logan, Ken MacLeod, James Robertson and JL Williams will be available to download, along with details of the architectural and literary history of each area.

Enlighten will be unveiled March 1, a date chosen to coincide with the launch of a campaign aimed at persuading tourism businesses to make more of the city’s literary legacy.

Ali Bowden, director of the Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature Trust, sees the project matching the city’s architectural brilliance with its world-renowned literature. It will “provide an arresting experience for passers-by, both locals and visitors, as well as a focal point for those planning a trip to Edinburgh,” he told The Scotsman.

Edinburgh was designated the world’s first city of literature in 2004.