Community is at the heart of the new Hugh’s Room Live. Coming back as a music-focused community centre gives a real meaning, presence and focus to all the great thinking that has taken place over the past year (and before).  We imagine creating a vibrant music resource centre for artists and many diverse communities. 

Our Engaging Artists and Communities Working Group has led our imaginative thinking on what it would mean to come back differently, and to become an ongoing, vital presence in the community.  Our work with The Metcalf Foundation’s Staging Change Program also has expanded our thinking about a re-imagined HRL and taught us that to succeed, we need and want to imagine a post-pandemic future that is very different than the past.  This is a vision that excites us and our artists, and we think has relevance and meaning to the community and city.

Below is a way of thinking about HRL as a music-focused community centre and what it might mean for a typical calendar of events for uses of the space.

  1. Community Education – Enable our amazing and extensive group of artists to provide master classes and opportunities for school students to hear live music performances as well as lunch hour concerts for the under employed and seniors. Workshops for area residents on many aspects of music including singer-songwriter, etc.   Offering community presentation space for community group meetings and mixed media artists as well as visual artists a place to display and speak of their discipline. 
  2. Community Outreach– Providing space for schools, local arts groups and community organizations in the neighbourhood to host meetings, and events. Examples include: school performance space to use for recitals, choir rehearsal space, community group music classes, and partnerships with organizations that already are serving under-resourced communities in the area, i.e. St. Jamestown Community Arts, and the Regent Park School of Music
  3. Support for Artists – Artists’ Hub – Tangible support for artists including access to tour planning and support, performance improvement techniques, workshops on grant writing and budget services, access to an instrument and audio library, artist song writing clinics, audio workshops, a resource information library that includes information on upcoming grant deadlines and collaborative work environment “office hours” to receive support for grant, bursary and scholarship writing.  Monthly theory workshops for emerging musicians and monthly clinics on maximizing social media impact and self-promotion.
  4. Artist Residency – Artist residency provides financial security to artists with the main goal creating new work, it subsequently would provide opportunity to forge new relationships with peers and touring musicians. The Hugh’s Room Live artist in residence will be invited to attend social events with other artists and guests, share their work for constructive feedback and be part of artist’s panel open to the public.   Pairing emerging and established artists for an artist in residency program will allow two compatible artists to learn from one another and assist in fostering the next generation of Canadian musicians. 
  5. Outstanding Music– Of course, HRL will continue to offer live music in a warm and intimate setting as we have done in the past.

It will be necessary to run HRL very differently going forward.  Our music programming will continue to be critically important, accompanied by food and beverageThis will be but one part of an organizational structure that will include HRL staff and volunteers responsible for outreach, educational opportunities and creating partnerships.  In so doing, we will place a priority on ensuring equity and inclusivity in all aspects of governing the new organization.