Talk Rural
… an update on Blyth's Cultural Project, December 2016

Meet the Architect who's leading the Design team for the
Grant & Mildred Sparling Centre, home of the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity.

The CCRC is a community centre in art, education and innovation. It is a place where people will come together to share ideas. It is a place of thought. It is a place of action that comes about from creative thinking. It is a unique cultural centre that addresses issues facing rural communities and explores solutions on how those challenges can be met.  Building on the 40+ year history of the Blyth Festival, the CCRC will compliment that vital arts organization, and will make Blyth a year-round cultural centre reimagining what rural communities can be in the 21st century. 

Artists, entrepreneurs, and students from the local community, from across the province, the country and from outside our borders will be drawn to the CCRC to meet, to develop skills, to collaborate and most importantly to make.

The new work will be project based.

Four Flagship Programs will continue to evolve to make room for other disciplines, other projects. 

And, the CCRC will have artist/innovator residencies.

PROJECT BASED
In art, education, and innovation, the work created will bring together mentors and students, artists and academics, people from business and the creative industries, and over a defined period of time (from one day to nine months) will have them investigating and responding to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge, leading the innovator to a new discovery – a discovery that will create positive change in our communities. 

FOUR FLAGSHIP PROGRAMS
Fashion Arts & Creative Textiles  |  The Rural Voice  |  Performing Arts  |  Digital Media.  

The Fashion Arts & Creative Textiles program is going into its third year in 2017.  It will have classes for community hobbyists, artisans, and students of the artform. It will make room for the visiting artists to work on a new project or complete a pre-existing one. There will be public showings of the work created from the artisans, students and visiting artists.  Blyth is surrounded by sheep farms, soil for growing flax, gardens and forests for dye flowers and dye barks. The region has a strong tradition of design through Bainton’s and the Old Mill and Blyth has its own tannery. Nearby in Benmiller they once made a beautiful woven blanket (the Benmiller blankets – now available at The Old Mill) and the Amish Community continue to make Mennonite quilts.  World-class designers and creators will continue to come to Blyth to explore sustainable fashion. 

Upcoming Fall 2017 – a one-day symposium on the work created by those involved in the fibreshed movement.

The Rural Voice – the Rural Talks to Rural Conference in Sept. 2016 was the first initiative in the program and brought innovators from across Canada and beyond our borders to discuss the actions being implemented in their community to assist in revitalization. From that conference…

Ubiquitous Connectivity for Huron: The CCRC will be working with local telcos, the Economic Development Department, private and public investors, and others to make Huron a First Mile County – a County connected by fibre in order to attract a younger demographic, attract immigrants, and to create new opportunities for investment/business.  (Great timing with the CRTC's announcement December 21st)

Upcoming – Rural Talks Lecture Series: the CCRC, in collaboration with local partners, will bring leaders in connectivity to Huron County in 2017 to speak to the community on how broadband changes the way we view health, business, investment and the arts.

Upcoming – R2R ’18: the next Rural Talks conference is slated for 2018 and will once again bring leading lights from the rural world to Huron County to build action from idea.

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Performing Arts – A Community Opera has been commissioned with a young composer/conductor to work with a director, librettist, and community organizations to create an opera based on an exciting local story. 

Upcoming – Opera workshop: public presentation – autumn 2017. 

Upcoming – Builder’s Project: CCRC & TAAT (Theatre for Architecture, Architecture for Theatre) will bring four architects together with four theatre makers to begin the process of creating a new work that combines the arts with science and community –  public workshop in 2017. 

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Digital Media – the CCRC will house a Digital Media Centre (DMC) where the latest technology will be made available to artists, students and the community. Leaders in digital media will be invited to the Centre to teach and to create. The DMC will have a studio for transmission of music, for interviews and forums, and to show documentaries and films across the world via the internet.  We are also exploring the creation of a virtual rural resource centre to be available to the community. 

Upcoming – Commissions: two projects in 2017 – one based on images and video in an outdoor setting, the other a documentary on the voices of rural Ontario: how we share knowledge through story. 

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RESIDENCIES
Artists/Innovators will be invited to Blyth to live and work (from a day to nine months), to work on a new project or complete a project in development, to lead classes for community hobbyists and artisans, and to teach classes to students of the artform.
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IN OTHER NEWS
Wee Houses: we are planning to have our first tiny house in Blyth for guest and artist accommodation built and on display by September 2017.♦