About the Arty Crowd

The Hamilton Arts Council created this digital hub to increase access to and discovery of the local arts scene. The Arty Crowd offers a lasting solution to the constant challenges of communication and promotion, which have been magnified by the pandemic, as well as playing a critical role in the arts sector's long-term recovery and growth. Artists and arts organizations are able to share their work and explore possibilities for collaboration. And arts lovers are able to find local artistic and cultural offerings on one central site!

Why the Arty Crowd?

In 1959, City Hall dedicated $75,000 to purchase works by local artists to be housed in the new city hall building to be constructed on Main Street. A call-for-submissions was sent out for paintings, while six sculptors from the Sculptors Society of Canada were personally selected to submit works. Holbrook was invited to submit, but the winning prize went to E.B. Cox, a Toronto native and vice-president of the Sculptors Society of Canada. The long-list of paintings and sculptures were shown at the Art Gallery of Hamilton late that year, and were met with much criticism from the public who did not understand the modernist movements on display. Mayor Lloyd Jackson declared “The people of this city have made it abundantly clear that they want no part of this modern art… We can’t let the arty crowd run things” (Women’s Art Association: The First 100 Years, 66). This criticism caused City Hall to back out of its promise to purchase and display the selected artworks at the new building, causing a storm of backlash from all of the many slighted artists. Holbrook remarked to the Hamilton Spectator, “I feel like the last angry Hamilton artist. Perhaps we should join a union to protect ourselves” (Women’s Art Association: The First 100 Years, 66).

Reference: Building Cultural Legacies

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