By Ted McMeekin, MPP
As I write, the temperature has soared all the way up to five degrees, but the forecast says it’ll be back down to minus eight by the time you read this. At this time of year, you just gotta have faith that spring will get here, sooner or later.
One of the things that keeps me warm in the meantime is the great work done by so many members of our community to enrich our lives. This month, let me shine the spotlight on Hamilton’s Incite Foundation for the Arts and its tremendously effective efforts in funding and promoting the visual and performing arts in our city.
The foundation recently announced 2013-14 donations amounting to $250,000 which will help fund 15 Hamilton-area arts organizations.
Theatre Aquarius and the Hamilton Philharmonic are on the list, as you might expect. I’m particularly excited about the support the foundation provides to arts education for children and youth.
An Instrument for Every Child, for example, will help to provide a free music program for inner city children in Grades 1 through 4. This year the program has grown to five Hamilton schools, and the group hopes to double this number by 2015.
Another donation will help the Dundas Valley School of Art with The Artist Connection 3, an exhibition of local art that will travel through the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s Elementary and Secondary schools, helping students to appreciate the richness of the visual arts in our area.
The Hamilton All Star Jazz band will be able to extend its work with young people through another donation, which will support its mission to help young people develop life skills like commitment, leadership, teamwork and respect.
These programs, and others like them, enrich the lives of young people, and in turn enrich our community. My thanks to the far-sighted and generous volunteers who established the foundation and work to continue it. You can learn more about the Foundation and the other organizations it has helped at www.incitefoundation.ca. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to make a donation.
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In more prosaic news, I was pleased to join my friend Glen Murray, the minister of transportation, in his recent announcement that Metrolinx has awarded a contract to build the new GO station in Hamilton. This is an ongoing story and this latest announcement only one more step — but it’s an important step in the journey that will add two more train trips in the morning and the afternoon to and from Hamilton on the Lakeshore line by 2015.
I invite you to join me in thinking warm thoughts, especially about young people and the arts, while we wait for spring.