With Airdrie constantly growing and evolving, local filmmaker and business owner Mitchell George is asking residents to provide feedback through a survey he has created regarding the city’s arts community.
George feels Airdrie is currently in a place where, although there are many talented artists across all disciplines, the arts community isn’t always recognized at the local level.
He wants his survey to serve as a starting point to see how people feel about the arts, and if they would support future growth in the area.
“I want to get people on board, and to get the conversation going,” he said. “We want people to supply not only important data but also themselves. Who is out there? Who is willing to join? How do we get everyone in the same room? Does Airdrie even want growth here?”
With the Airdrie Film Society dissolving this summer, and a number of other local creative outlets and organizations following suit, George is curious to know not only as a business owner, but also a creative person, if growth in the arts is feasible locally.
While the survey will serve as important data to build on, George said his end goal centres around the creation of some sort of organization or initiative that can provide creative services through one community hub.
The recent explosion of online content creation and success in George’s own filmmaking ventures are two reasons he said he wants to be a part of building a flourishing creative community in Airdrie. He said he wants to know that as he continues to build on his career, he will be in a community that supports the arts.
As George raises his family in Airdrie, he said he hopes to provide a space where artists can get together and not only collaborate, but also utilize a bank of equipment through a membership model that would make projects of all sorts accessible to everyone.
“I’m doing this already,” he said. “I’m carrying a boulder up a mountain, but I know there would be other people willing to do this or support this.”
George said currently, there is nowhere a local creative can go to showcase their art or have a continuous community to surround themselves with.
“There is no collective, and I think that what we are missing,” he said. “Do I belong in this community if the Film Society is dying, if Creative Airdrie is dying? Is this a smart business move for me to have a creative business here?”
George said it is more important now than ever for people to come together, which is what he hopes to see through his survey. Once information is collected, it will give George the ability to showcase to the City the importance of developing in this area.
“We can than tell [the City] this is what the community wants, how can they support us and help make this community grow?” he said.
The data will also hopefully justify the need for an arts council, which would help push more initiatives like George’s to fruition.
With the popularity of social media and platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, George feels exploring these avenues will be a lot more popular, especially with younger people, than some Airdronians might think.
“We want to come with a plan to help support the growing arts community a little bit better,” he said, citing the influence the digital era is having on youth.
“When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, it’s not an astronaut anymore,” he said. “They want to be YouTubers, Twitch streamers, or just create online content. That should be a clear indication that this programming is important and will be successful.”
The survey is hosted through George’s film company Crooked Cinema. Completion of the survey will enter participants into a raffle where they can win prizes such as merchandise and gift cards.
George said public reception to the idea has been positive, so far.
“From the amount of people reaching out to us, there is obviously a need here,” he said. “By folks sharing their experience, ideas, and feedback, we can do our best to advocate and demand services that people want.”
To take the survey, visit bit.ly/3aBefGp