A message from Melissa Auf der Maur

Spokeswoman for the Journées, 2002 edition

I am very happy to be a spokesperson for the Journées de la culture.

To me, art and culture are fundamentally about feeling connected, to other people and to the universe itself. In all forms of art, there’s a universal human experience, be it tasting a new dish, living vicariously via a character in a film, or being taken to another place through poetry and music. Through art, people can visit a place they’ve never seen but that still somehow resonates for them.

For me, one of the most satisfying and important things about being a musician is connecting with other musicians and then connecting with an audience. A song that makes people happy, or that makes them feel they’re not alone when they’re sad, is extremely powerful and beautiful. The real beauty of music — and all forms of art — is the many ways and levels in which it allows you to connect with people.

We all have the urge to escape and get out of ourselves for a moment through art. Many people sastisfy it by going to see mass-produced movies, or watching TV, or listening to commercial radio: that’s a shortcut. What we need to remember is that art may be within ourselves, our children, and our communities. There may be poets and musicians you can celebrate living next door. Art is all around you.

As a Montrealer, I think Quebec is unique in the way it’s proud of and supports its local artists. The truth is, when we celebrate the expressions of art closest to our homes, we are celebrating the art in our own daily lives. The Journées are a wonderful reminder of that.

May these three days make you a little more connected to the art that surrounds you —and the art inside you.

Melissa Auf der Maur