We live in a city that is made up of a myriad of subcultures and communities. No one can call Edmonton just an oil city or hub for cowboy culture any longer. We have lively ethnic cultures from every corner of the globe. Fervent sports enthusiasts’ obsessions reach far beyond just hockey and the professional and urbane tastes of residents are easily recognizable. It’s not surprising that our community of artists has many different and intricate slices of personality and flavours within its own ethos.
Miranda Scott moved to Edmonton from Kingston, Ont. only three short months ago. Her experience as a newcomer to the city’s artistic community has so far been good. She recognizes here the similar natures of artistic circles that exist everywhere. But something she did not expect is such immediate support from Edmonton’s City Arts Centre. Miranda has been making jewelry for six years and will be teaching the Wedding Band Workshop for the centre at the end of April.
“Larissa has been very helpful,” Miranda says of the centre’s program manager Larissa Stetzenko. “I sort of expected to have to do a lot of promotion and have to really reach out and find people, but she has been really great with all that. They just jumped on the idea.”
The City Arts Centre is a facility dedicated to residents of Edmonton. It offers programs at the centre in Garneau and a variety of recreation centres throughout the city. It works a certain angle of the city’s The Way We Live strategy very well; “bringing people together to create a civil, socially sustainable and caring society where people have opportunities to thrive and realize their potential in a safe, attractive city.”
The Wedding Band Workshop is relatively new to Western Canada, says Miranda. A lot of other major cities have gotten on board with the idea of couples building wedding bands for each other. By bringing new programs such as this to Edmonton the city aspires to reach its goals of being a nurturing and supportive government.
And as a newcomer to Edmonton breaking into the arts and culture scene is important for someone like Miranda. She is a craftsperson more than what is considered a ‘pure’ artist, or creator of emotionally relevant visceral forms, that usually have no practical meaning. People need to know they can make use of her services. Miranda owns and operates House on Hudson, a one-person company that makes hand-crafted raw and organic fine jewelry for sale.
The notion of esoteric subcultures within any given arts community is not lost on Miranda. One of the things she finds so welcoming about Edmonton is the warm response she received from the City Arts Centre.
“Sometimes the two different communities tend to naturally separate themselves,” she says. “I don’t know that people consider craft to be an art form, but, people in crafts definitely think so.”
“I’ve only been here three months so it’s still hard to say but people have been very welcoming so far and the (initial support) is more than I could have expected.”
A warm experience for new artists in Edmonton is encouraging for the city. The Way We Live strategic plan strives to “promote Edmontonas an arts and cultural center and encourage recreational, cultural, artistic and entertainment opportunities for all residents,” as outlined in the Art of Living Implementation Plan.
Miranda moved to Edmonton with her boyfriend, an electrical apprentice seeking work, and neither of them knew a soul in the City before moving. She has already enjoyed publicity via the City Arts Centre on Shaw Cable’s Go! Edmonton and has been shown around the City by fellow metal smith and arts centre instructor Meghan Wagg.
“I’ve always been curious about teaching in a more formal setting, especially when you do a lot of custom jewelry, this is part of how you grow as an artist,” Miranda says, adding “from what I have seen of the people I met I am looking forward to the time I will spend here.”