A symposium to examine the importance of the arts to the social and economic fabric of the Winnipeg is set to kick off Thursday with a public address from American filmmaker John Waters.
The My City's Still Breathing symposium, being held Nov. 4 until 7, is presented as part of the Winnipeg Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 program.
The event will look at the relationship of art and design as it applied to city-making, and the relationship between artists and their cities.
The list of speakers and presenters includes artists, architects and city planners among others.
"We are gathering an extraordinary group of people to talk about the nature of art and city," said Carol Phillips, executive producer of the Winnipeg Cultural Capital of Canada 2010 program.
"And the timing is perfect [just after the municipal election]. Everyone is thinking about the city and our future," she said.
"It is essential that the arts be included in those thoughts and plans."
Waters is set to talk about his life, career and how his own city, Baltimore, helped shape him.
Waters’ movies are all set in his hometown, where he still lives.
"John Waters is an artist whose work is so influenced by his city," Phillips said.
"And in turn the city he lives in has been influenced by his work. He is a perfect example of the symbiotic and essential relationship between culture and city-living."
John K. Samson, poet, publisher and frontman for Winnipeg band The Weakerthans will give a performance on Thursday evening.
The title of the symposium comes from The Weakerthans song, Left and Leaving.
A statement on the symposium's site states the title was perfect "because it is our belief that it is the art of a city that makes it breathe."
The symposium will be held at the Fort Garry Hotel, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and various locations throughout the city.
More information can be found at on the Arts for All website.