A recent study declared Huron County the third oldest population in Canada. The departure of many businesses in the manufacturing sector coupled with few other viable employment opportunities has contributed to a youth exodus. With an aging population and youth migration, the challenges facing these communities requires an immediate, combined and concerted effort to stem the tide.
We believe revitalization will come from the cultural sector. Blyth Arts & Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc. (Blyth 14/19) was formed in 2013 to develop the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC). The primary goal of our work is to mobilize local, regional and national support to create a cultural hub in the Village of Blyth to drive social and economic renewal through the arts and cultural industries. By reigniting the enthusiasm and the passion an environment for meaningful work will exist where a young man or woman can look out and see their future.
Building on the 40+ year history of the Blyth Festival, the CCRC will not only compliment that vital arts organization, it will make Blyth a year-round cultural hub to attract, retain, and assist in reimagining what rural communities can be in the 21st century. The CCRC will identify issues common to rural communities and bring innovators together to share creative solutions and create action plans. Artists, entrepreneurs and students from the local community, across the province and Canada will be drawn to the CCRC to develop their skills and create their art.
Blyth 14/19 has already begun to encourage the pre-existing appetite for this activity. in the summer of 2014 we hosted Fare on 4 – a dinner for 1,419 people with 100 volunteers alongside - on the main street of Blyth. It brought the community together from all socio and economic strata with an energy that was inspiring.
By positioning Blyth as a hub for cultural and rural community development we will challenge the definitions of rural and how it impacts creativity. By offering programs and experiences that build skills and creative partnerships, we will also leverage opportunities for social entrepreneurship.
Blyth is internationally recognized as that uniquely Canadian place where creativity inspires artists and audience alike.
To establish Blyth as a world-class cultural centre that enables the creation of and
appreciation for new Canadian works.