About two weeks ago I had a paid gig. For dancing. In a Canadian city that was not Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. Yeah, I know, crazy (HEAVY sarcasm here).
It seems to me that some people have a prerequisite of moving away from Saskatchewan to one of these three cities in order to count as a professional artist, whether it’s as a dancer, actor, singer, photographer, etc. In my opinion, moving to the big city is not the deciding factor in whether or not you’ve made it as a professional.
It frustrates me that this notion exists. It discourages the growth of a thriving artistic world in other parts of Canada. It tells youth that they will not go anywhere in life if they remain home.
Because Saskatchewan is full of artistic opportunities! There are professional theatre companies all over the place, the dance scene is only growing, and musicians of all types litter the absurdly flat countryside. (I know I’m missing so many other types of artists, but these three in particular speak to me.)
To say that one has to move away from Saskatchewan in order to pursue a career in the arts does a disservice to this part of Canada. It demonstrates a lack of faith in our province’s abilities to nurture our artists, and a lack of faith in our artists themselves! Have faith in us!
Now I’m not saying “NO! You are not allowed to move away! You MUST stay here!” No. Move to those big cities for their opportunities, for the new experiences, for the crazy journey they will take you on, but please don’t move to them because you feel like that is your only option as a budding artist.
I want to dispel this myth that being an artist in Saskatchewan automatically means you will never succeed as a professional, that staying here means your career “doesn’t really count.” Help me dispel the myth! Support our local artists! They are everywhere, they are talented, and they are fierce!