May 23, 2002
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
7pm. Apathy is the decay of this city. The Youth Advisory Council is supposed to be meeting with the mayor at the moment, but only one girl showed, then left after 15 minutes, so it is just myself, Dave O'Toole, director of community development, and Mayor Shirley. Each of the high schools are supposed to have a representative attend with a list of requests from their peers. Our officials are listening and willing to do something. Who has ideas... who wants to be involved in building this community?
I just learned about the council myself a couple weeks ago after reading a Here Newspaper article about how the council has yet to accomplish anything since forming in the fall. I called Shirley asking to attend, but she said I was too old. I wouldn't take "no" for an answer.
To find creative solutions, the craziest ideas, the most far fetched...but some that just might work, everyone must be invited. The problem with this city is that we are not united. The general population feels disconnected from "the decision makers" and most youth feel little pride for this place. A large percentage of young people leave each year, so opposed to the rest of the world, our city's population is shrinking.
I suggested we have a bonfire on Fort Howe, invited everyone in the city, and give them a chance to speak, sing a song, share a dream--just to be heard. Shirley said a guy in a wheelchair named Norman Tuplin often hosts fires up there, and suggested I contact him. That's a great start! Dave is heading to Halifax tomorrow to attend a conference on building skateboard parks.
8pm. This is a painting of Wes playing on stage at Music for Mexico, a fund raising concert I hosted at The Gothic Arches two years ago. His ex-girl friend Dee painted it... perfectly depicting the energy he was emitting. In this photo he is playing an Archie Fisher tune, The Witch of the Westmorland, made famous by Stan Rogers. The lyrics are a traditional style, very challenging to memorize, but he has done so masterfully. The man is a great inspiration to me, always sharing some genius creation. It's people like Wes who need to be at the bonfire to infect the rest of the city and get'em rockin'!
9pm. Shawn, mi amigo, Diablo... he's another radical creative genius. In these shots he is showing me a coat he painted and telling of a coloring contest he hosted and judged at Market Square a few days ago. He drew the sketch that the kids colored, and donated the original to the winner. He's a FAR OUT art teacher.