September, 2016

Les Journées de la culture, now called Culture pour tous, will celebrate this month their 20th anniversary. Mrs. Louise Sicuro, CEO and Managing Director of those exciting days tells us how they came to be. « In the autumn of 1996, Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard had organized a great summit around three main themes and he had asked for people to present projects that would be truly accessible to all the citizens of Quebec. »

Mrs. Sicuro prepared a document that outlined the vital elements of a project on behalf of the artists and players of the cultural arena. We must note that, at the time, this impassioned defender of the arts was already well-known and respected for her involvement in promoting culture and its democratization. Her project met with the approval of the summit leaders. Then she took the next important step into making it a reality by visit all parts of Quebec. « Everywhere, the need to do something was very real. The deep desire to provoke something significant inviting the participation of everyone, artists and public, gave shape to what became Les Journées. These core values remain at the heart of what’s programmed at Culture pour tous. »

Those week-ends welcome a mix of genre and promote multidisciplinary events. Free access as well as workshops and demontrations  that bring people back stage and allow them to discover how the artists create are also fundamentals of the Journées.  Finally, the exchange between the pros of the cultural scene and the citizens play a key role in the success of this yearly celebration.

« For 20 years now, the Journées have been a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the crucial importance of culture in our lives, declares the CEO of Culture pour tous. The very first year, we had 500 activities programmed. We felt encouraged by such a success. Since then, we have continued to give precedence to the local scene. That’s how we’ve buit very strong and vibrant roots throughout the province. Every cultural player is given the same visibility, from Gaspé’s Historical Center to Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts and the suburbs’ choirs. »

Mrs. Sicuro enthusiastically urges us to recognize how our cultural heritage is an important part of our daily lives. « We all live somewhere. We go to school and get an education. We speak a language. We have common values and traditions. All that becomes the material with which the artists create. Each year, we work hard at putting culture center stage for three days. Thus, we encourage every one to recognize the amazing collective wealth that is our culture. »

Furthermore, Mrs. Sicuro points out that culture does not involve artists only. « It’s us. Each and every one of us! » Finally, for this 20th celebration, she invites us to try one or more of the 20 cultural treasures as voted by the citizens of each region.

September 30th, October 1st and 2nd will be the perfect time for you to discover and meet those who write, tell, play, sing, dance, paint, sculpt and what they produce to bring a unique richness to our lives.

Over the last 20 years, Les Journées de la Culture have involved

o   50 ambassadors
o   37 000 members of organizing staff
o   39 000 events
o   4 700 000 participants

The official program of Sept. 30th, Oct. 1st and 2nd will be announced on Sept. 13, 2016. Visit culturepourtous.ca and follow them on Facebook.

Don’t forget to check out your local paper to learn about the specific events taking place in your neighbourhood.