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March 31, 2005
For immediate release

View Points presents There Goes the Neighbourhood on Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m.

View Points continues its series of discussions and points of views about contemporary culture, focusing on current affairs and issues locally, nationally and internationally with There Goes the Neighbourhood on Thursday, April 7, at 7 p.m., at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Tickets are $10, ($5 for seniors and students). For tickets and information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com.

There Goes the Neighbourhood is a panel discussion about the impact of gentrification on local communities. The presence of artists and culture workers has long been an indicator of the cultural attractiveness of neighbourhoods that contributed to the gentrification of these communities B often to the point that artists can no longer afford to live in the neighbourhoods that they have helped to establish. It is a desire for local communities to contain cultural activity B not just for economic reasons, but because this activity contributes to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood and enhances a sense of livability and community diversity. There Goes the Neighbourhood is intended to expose the factors that are operative in this transformation of local communities and to consider the ways in which cultural activities can be fostered without the ultimate loss of its cultural contributors. Co-produced by Harbourfront Centre and Fuse Magazine.

There Goes the Neighbourhood Panelists:
Adrian Blackwell is an artist, an urban and architectural designer, a teacher and an activist. This year, Blackwell is teaching at the University of Michigan’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he is pursuing urban research on the underdevelopment of Detroit. In 2004, he produced three urban interventions in southern Ontario: car collective for the exhibition Parking art in parking lots in Kingston, light net at Kitchener City Hall for this year’s Contemporary Art Forum and Peace of Mind and blind for Constructive Folly at the Doris McCarthy Gallery in Scarborough. With Kika Thorne he participated in the C-SIDE COLLECTIVE’s creative examination of the neighbourhood surrounding Firgrove Community Centre in Toronto’s northwest.

According to Adrian Blackwell, Toronto is a gentrification success story. In the late 1960s and early 1970s activist planners and architects worked to curtail the negative effects of urban highway projects and urban renewal. Their strategies of infill housing and “white painting” helped to maintain the desirability of downtown housing for middle-class residents

Since that period, middle and upper income professionals have continued to move into the city displacing blue-collar and service workers towards the periphery.
Through this process, Toronto’s poorest residents have been marginalized in under-
serviced and remote neighborhoods. One problematic result of this marginalization is the relative invisibility of poverty in Toronto. It is Blackwell’s conviction that artists, like all residents, can work to produce inclusive spaces supportive of communities threatened
with displacement. This is not to underestimate the force of economics, but rather to argue that intention is important - ambivalence only results in support of a violent status quo. This means never fighting for the rights of artists alone, or for a creative city as an end in itself, but rather understanding that it is precisely the city’s complexity in terms of both class, race and culture that provides the foundation for those possibilities for cultural experimentation and creativity that do exist.

Rosemary Donegan is an independent curator, writer and educator, whose curatorial work has focused on issues of industrial and urban history. Donegan researched and curated the exhibition and subsequent book, Spadina Avenue and published an extended essay entitled What ever happened to Queen St. West in Fuse magazine in 1986. Donegan’s recent exhibitions include Ford City Windsor (Art Gallery of Windsor) and Work, Weather and the Grid: Agriculture in Saskatchewan (Dunlop Art Gallery). She is presently an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean in the Liberal Studies Faculty of the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Rosemary Donegan discusses the complex urban terrain of the "creative city" She talks about the symbiotic relationship of artists, immigrants and the poor: gentrification, white painting, Chelsification, urban renewal, dynamic agents of positive transformation, regeneration, industrial zoning, underutilized spaces, immigrant neighbourhoods and displacement.

Susan Serran is the Director of Arts Programs and Services for Artscape. Serran provided much of the vision that made Gibraltor Point Centre for the Arts a reality. She is the coordinator of Creative Spaces and Places 1 and 2, She is former Artistic Producer at a number of Toronto arts organizations.

Panel Moderator: Lisa Rochon, the architecture columnist/critic for The Globe and Mail. Her national column Cityspace explores the complex fabric of the Canadian city - its public spaces, its trophy buildings and its contextual architecture. Rochon also teaches at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. She holds a Master of Arts in Urban Design Studies from the University of Toronto and an honours degree in journalism and French from Carleton University. Rochon often participates on design juries and regularly speaks on issues of architecture and cities in public lectures as well as on the radio and television.

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Media Contact:
Ramona Noor, 416-973-4342 or rnoor@harbourfrontcentre.com
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