The on-going treatment of the Khyber Arts Society (KAS) and now the Khyber Performing Arts Society (KPAS), by the city of Halifax makes me in turn sad and angry.
The club has not only hosted innumerable artist talks, panel discussions andpost-opening parties, not to mention performances, including many with SmallWooden Shoe - but most importantly it has been a hub, a community centrefor the artists in Halifax - when the Arts Council was shut down by the Tories we went to the Khyber to find out what we were going to do next - when a fire devastated a north end block that housed many artists, we went to the Khyber to find out what we were going to do next - when they close the Khyber, where are we going to go?
The Khyber was instrumental in the revitalization of Barrington St and continues to be a vital aspect of Halifax's contemporary arts and music communities - it deserves the full support of the city, not locks on the door.
Halifax is haemorrhaging young people (for arguments sake, 25-35) and young artists in particular - myself included, unfortunately. The Khyber is one of the few places working to reverse or least slow that trend. I was raised in Halifax, it is my home, the home of my family, but due to a lack of infrastructure I can't stay - but the three years I did stay, creating and showing 11 original plays, presenting 2 companies from away, 1 Canada Council funded panel discussion and a festival, including 6 of those events in the Club and another 4 in other spaces at the Centre and all with the support of the KAS and the club. Well, it seems too obvious to say I couldn't have done it without their support.
The control of city property is a very concrete thing the council can do to support culture and giving it over completely to an unaccountable corporation is unacceptable.
The city should transfer of control of city owned buildings that are rented by not-for-profits back into the realm of the public sphere where they belong, and come to an agreement with the KPAS and KAS that keeps this vital centre alive. The future of the city may depend on it.
Jacob ZimmerArtistic DirectorSmall Wooden Shoe
By Jacob Zimmer