PuSh Blog

Max Wyman O.C. Remarks – 2011 PuSh Festival Opening Gala and Vancouver 125 Launch

January 19, 2011

Photo by Kris Krug www.staticphotography.com

Speaking as a recovering politician, I’d like to express my gratitude and admiration to the Mayor and the city for teaming with PuSh in this marvellous event –

it seems hugely appropriate, given the significance of arts and culture to the social texture of this city,

it is perfectly timed, given the fact that Vancouver is one of Canada’s capitals of culture this year,

it suggests that there is a strong awareness, in civic quarters at least, of the need to support a festival of this kind.

And it is particularly fitting, given that PuSh helps define the city’s cultural identity and carries our city’s name around the world.

You and your council and your staff, sir, provide  a beacon of enlightenment in dark times.

I’d like to add my special thanks, too, to Vancity, which has come aboard in significant fashion this year.

What we have here is something that I believe is unique in this city – in this country – our very own special treasure.

But PuSh is not much more than half a decade old,  and still a bit of an in-crowd secret, and that’s something we need to change – not just for the sake of PuSh, but for the sake of everyone who’s currently not sharing the PuSh experience.

The arts and culture make a significant contribution to the quality of life that we live together.

I don’t mean just economically, though that’s important.

I don’t mean just in terms of developing what they call the creative class – the professionals who give a city and a region its imaginative edge and enlarge its ability to innovate … though that matters as well.

I don’t mean just the way that sharing cultural experiences gives us a better understanding of each other and helps us define ourselves as a community.

I mean all those things. And PuSh makes a significant contribution to our lives in all those ways.

But when I think about why I am so hot for PuSh, it comes down in the end to the personal effect –

the way PuSh has the potential to change me, open my eyes to new ideas, make me question things that I thought I knew …

and, not least, delight me in the most surprising ways.

Here’s another reason to love PuSh: it puts you – us – at the forefront of something quite transformational – a world movement that is encouraging us to reconsider the traditional boundaries between audiences and performers.

PuSh executive director Norman Armour has his finger firmly on the pulse of this new international movement – in fact, the season that’s about to open, with its link to the city’s 125th anniversary through the theme of “cityness” (interpreted as only PuSh knows how), promises to be the most stimulating PuSh yet.

Filled with new explorations of what good work in the performing arts always does – provoke us, engage us, enrage us … change us. Set our souls on fire.

Have your own wonderful time. I know I will. And don’t forget to tell your friends. This really is too good a secret not to share.

Pictures from the Gala
Visit the PuSh Festival’s website