Friday 3 April 2015

ArtsGames Conference evening reception in Toronto. April 01 2015.

ArtsGames conference is on National Post. My speech and presentation was representation of Middle Eastern Dance and Music in Olympic
Thank you very much for ArtsGames Organization.

Canada could play host to ArtsGames, Olympics-style competition aiming to showcase top artistic talent

Sylvia Sweeney, President of Art Games, stands for a portrait during the Art Games Conference in Toronto on Wednesday April 1, 2015.
Aaron Vincent Elkaim for National Post Sylvia Sweeney, President of Art Games, stands for a portrait during the Art Games Conference in Toronto on Wednesday April 1, 2015. 
Oscar Peterson used to tell the story of a super-fan, who followed him around the United States to hear him master the piano like only he knew how.
One day, the jazz great went to shake this admirer’s hand, and the man from Georgia said he loved his music, but he could never shake the hand “of a nig—.”
Sylvia Sweeney, Mr. Peterson’s niece and a force in her own right, told that story Wednesday in Toronto, at the inaugural conference for the ArtsGames, which plans to revive the practice of recognizing excellence in the arts with gold, silver and bronze medals.
“He couldn’t help himself but follow this black man,” Ms. Sweeney said of the Peterson story. “That ripple effect of valuing another culture happens because we can’t help what happens at a visceral level. And this is what my motivation is.”
Ms. Sweeney, a former Olympian, has poured 20 years of her time, energy and grit into the ArtsGames project, an idea that stemmed from a conversation with her uncle about staging festivals that could foster cross-cultural understanding. It will launch next year, with its first online competition sandwiched between the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The first full-fledged Games is slated for 2018, in a host city that has yet to be selected. The finalists are in Switzerland, Canada and the United States.
The ArtsGames is not part of the Olympics, although the Olympics at one point included awards for the arts. But it is modelled on the international governing body of sport. Qualifying rounds will be held in music, dance, literature, visual arts and film and television.
“It’s a watershed moment for us,” said Peter Howlett, chairman of the International ArtsGames Committee, trademark holder of the ArtsGames. “We live in a world that is focused on promotability, rather than ability.”
We live in a world that is focused on promotability, rather than ability
The Games will use “competition to advance a sustainable future for the arts.” Revenue is expected to come primarily from sponsorships, now being negotiated.
The conference included representatives with a spectrum of expertise, from Jeff Neiman, the exclusive licensing and promotions agent for Universal Studios, to U.S. author and scriptwriter Khephra Burns to Zelma Badu, an associate professor of African dance at the University of Ohio.
Speakers pitched the Games as a way to tear down inaccurate perceptions of cultures, provide a broad platform for artists and expose audiences to talent from every corner of the globe. Mr. Neiman also suggested the product and branding possibilities are endless, pointing out most of the 4.7 billion viewers of the Olympic and Paralympic Games tune in during the opening and closing ceremonies — which are a pageantry of art.
Aaron Vincent Elkaim for National Post
Aaron Vincent Elkaim for National PostParomita Kar, member of the Dilan Dance Company, performs an Iranian dance during the Art Games Conference in Toronto on Wednesday April 1, 2015. 
Fethi Karakecili, a York University professor and founder of the Dilan Dance Co, which focuses on Kurdish and Middle Eastern styles, said the Games can change how people view the Middle East. “I think ArtsGames will save the region’s instruments and dancers in this case. We need it, we need it more than every one else, to be part of ArtsGames.”
Michael Wendt, president of the International Dance Organization, said, “We must be very careful we are not competing with national pride, with traditions, philosophies, histories. There is nobody who is better or worse than somebody else. There is different.”
Added Ms. Sweeney, “It’s not about culture. It’s about art forms and disciplines.” ArtsGames is a way to “change the picture” about the world.
“I’ve been speaking about this a long time and I think everybody is so caught up in how much money they can make, they don’t understand the impact … It’s this kind of environment where you just want to be near something that is good.”
National Post