Hamilton drawing artists with its space, inspiration
Samantha Craggs, CBC News
When Ron Weihs and Judith Sandiford opened the doors of their Artword Artbar on Colbourne Street to the Hamilton Fringe Festival crowd last week, there was no shortage of former Torontonians like themselves who have migrated south to Hamilton.
There are playwrights and musicians. There are writers and visual artists. Often, the couple run into other former Toronto residents who came to Hamilton for the same reason they did — it's more spacious, more livable, and for many in the artistic community, more inspiring.
It's not exactly an artistic brain drain. It's more of a slow, steady migration of Toronto artists to Hamilton to join the local scene, said Weihs, a playwright who moved from Toronto in 2007 and opened the Artword Artbar two years later.
“They're slowly, tentatively finding their way here,” he said. “I'm just as happy about that because Hamilton has a very strong scene of its own. The healthiest thing is for that scene to assimilate new people rather than artists coming in from outside guns blazing.”
Each year, the Fringe Festival is full of examples of Toronto artists who have left the city for Hamilton. Radha Menon, whose play Ganga's Ganja played at the Fringe Festival last week, moved here from Toronto four years ago.
She now lives and writes in a Victorian house downtown that “we could never afford in Toronto.”
“Since I've been here full time, I've written so much because I have the space to do it,” she said.
“I live in a home with high ceilings and big windows, and even though we're downtown, it's so quiet. There's an energy that's conducive to writing.”
Lisa Pijuan-Nomura finds the same thing. A multi-disciplinary artist, she is a storyteller, dancer and puppeteer who also creates and performs one-woman shows.
Pijuan-Nomura moved here from Toronto in January and finds the creative energy flows in Hamilton. She has started a new performance series called The Quarterly at The Pearl Company, and her company, Girl Can Create, has a studio in Hotel Hamilton.
To read the full article: http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/08/01/hamilton-migrating-artists.html