You have one week left to nominate the best and brightest creative people, groups and organizations for a 2012 Durham Art of Transition Creative Award! Learn more, see past winners, and download a nomination form on the Art of Transition website.
Most readers won't know this, but OshaWhat was born on November 25, 2011 at the DATCA Awards–or adjacent to them, anyway.
The super duper booth (pictured above) sat in the row of Artisan Alley, the DIY "cheap seats" within the bustling Creative Marketplace. These vendors brought to life the huge auditorium on the Durham College/UOIT campus, while the award ceremony and tourism summit took place at the far end of the room.
Here, professional artists and Etsy execs alike gathered to show off their talents, sell their wares, and network with peers. There was a real sense of camaraderie in the air, and I did my best to lure passersby into conversation.
On that November day, OshaWhat was still just an idea. The night before I had launched a preliminary website–nothing more than a fancy recruitment ad in the hopes I could convince writers, photographers and designers to collaborate.
So, on very little sleep (and not enough coffee to compensate) I hung out at my booth all day and chatted with strangers. I hoped people would understand the idea, but wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe no one wanted an "alternative" magazine in Durham Region. Maybe the skilled writers and artists would be too cool to play along. Maybe no one cared enough to volunteer their time to spread a little love around town.
By the end of the day I had gathered 100 names on a mailing list, handed out dozens of buttons and flyers, and talked myself hoarse. Many people I met that day have become been vital supporters of this project, either by contributing, commenting, buying an ad, or helping spread the word.
Lucky for me, the DATCA organizers (including Kerri King, the Manager of Tourism for The Region of Durham, and also freelance creative organizers Dani Crosby and Will McGuirk, who worked together to assemble the Artisan Alley), were able to gather the perfect mix of people in one room.
(For dispatches from all the 2012 DATCA ambassadors check out this Facebook page.)
There was a buzz in the air that day that you rarely see at a government-sponsored event. This had an authentic community feeling running right through it. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what The Art of Transition was, only that it was evidence that something was happening, and that something was good.
There is a sense across sectors in Durham Region that a paradigm shift is underway. There is a strong desire for a more diversified economy, one that might be more sustainable in the long haul, and that there might be skilled, inspired, local people who can enact this new direction. Not only painters and sculptors, "capital C" creative types, but anyone able to think outside of the status quo: independent business owners, tech companies, spin-offs from Durham College and UOIT, and others. DATCA plays a key role in recognizing, unifying, and energizing this shift.
“The Durham Art of Transition Creative Awards recognize the people who breathe creative life into our community, as well as celebrate the many successes in our local economy,” said Kathy Weiss, Director of Economic Development and Tourism for Durham Region. “It's important to recognize the individuals and organizations that are making our communities stronger by celebrating creativity, innovation and collaboration in Durham Region.”
Awards fall into five categories and anyone can submit a nomination. An independent judging panel of community leaders will review the nominations and select the recipients of the awards based on the impact of the individuals' contribution, as well as factors such as uniqueness, effectiveness, influence and sustainability. Nominations are open until noon on Sept. 27. The awards ceremony will take place on Nov. 9 at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery at 72 Queen St. in Oshawa. Please visit www.artoftranstion.ca for more information on the awards program, eligibility criteria, nominations and the judging process.
In a recent video, Kerri King talks about how spirit of the awards have shifted in the last year.
For more videos from DATCA ambassadors, including a couple of OshaWhat contributors and lots of our friends, check out this YouTube channel.
The 2011 DATCA winners include The 25 on 25 street pARTy in Uxbridge, which attracted 1,200 people to the main street strip, and painter Jane Eccles who highlighted the life stories of women in a project that was picked up by The Toronto Star and CBC radio.
Who will win this year? The nomination is up to you!