Friday, February 18, 2011

“CLiC”-ing in Hamilton

Earlier this week, a contact on Twitter told my husband about a CLiC get-together at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, happening on Thursday night. For those who haven’t heard of CLiC, it is - and I quote - “a fresh collective of like minded individuals under 45, coming together with the Art Gallery of Hamilton to create an awareness of art, culture and community.” (I have to admit, I was pretty excited about the idea of this event from the moment I heard about it.)

Now – like it or not, Hamilton still has a certain reputation that precedes it (in Toronto and elsewhere) for being Steeltown – rather rugged, slightly down on its luck and perhaps a poorer cousin of the T-dot. Whether this is still true or not is up for debate.

That said, something I’ve constantly heard since we got here (mostly from Hamiltonians on Twitter, but also others out and about) is that the city has a rapidly growing and thriving artsy and cultural side. From my own POV, I have to say, the more I explore the city, the more I’m seeing it.

Case in point: The CLiC event. According to its website, the group gets together seasonally for “signature social evenings” as well as monthly receptions including exhibition tours with curators and artists, film presentations, and performances “with a welcoming social atmosphere for meeting other people from the area.”

Well, that’s me sold. Being:

a) under 45
b) in a creative profession (writer), and
c) itching to meet people in our new city,

I was practically salivating when I got wind of an event like this (as an aside – I’ve found that Twitter is unparalleled for people trying to make their way in a new city, in terms of finding interesting things to do and see – a little shoutout to the #Hamont tweeters, who have been especially welcoming and knowledgeable. We would have never heard of this event/group, had it not been for Twitter.)

Anyway, back to the event. This month’s theme was Quebec Winter Carnaval, and the venue was decked out as such – Quebec-themed food (think tourtiere), paper snowflakes, the northern lights projected onto a screen, a Bay blanket – you get the idea. It looked great. (There were also tours available of the Diane Landry: The Defibrillators exhibit).

While its always daunting entering a room full of strangers and striking up a conversation, the hubby and I found that everyone was super friendly and welcoming at CLiC. We met loads of people – transplanted Torontonians, lifelong Hamiltonians, people in our fields, people out of our fields, but we all had something in common (the desire to see this different side of Hamilton and to meet new people).

People's suggestions at this event led me in two separate directions, in terms of other things we can get involved with/explore here. The first obviously involves other art/cultural events in the area. At CLiC, we heard about the Art Crawl from several people, all raving about it - this is something we will definitely be checking out.

The other involves groups for young professionals. It turns out that there are quite a few in Hamilton: GenNext and Hype sound particularly interesting to me. I should probably note that art and professional networking are not all hubby and I are looking to do in this city - occassionally stopping by the Legion (he's a veteran) and finding great Southern BBQ places are two of our other pastimes :) We'll discuss those two topics another day...

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