Last week, I attended a figurative drawing class at City Hall. The class took place before the ten o’clock Council meeting in which Ford’s proposed cuts to the Arts were to be debated. All onlookers were invited to draw the Counselors as they debated the fate of the Arts. Those who submitted their drawings at the end of the meeting will be included in an art show called “Drawing Lines: Figurative Studies of Toronto City Council.” The date and location of the show is still to be announced.
As I approached City Hall, sleepy and hungry, I was pleased to find a number of picnic benches in the centre of the square. On them, dozens of people sat squished together, sketching in their notebooks. I sat beside David, a five year old boy, who had brought with him crayons, markers and a few pads of paper. He announced proudly as I sat down that he was “the best drawer in his family.”
At ten, we brought our pencils and pads into City Hall and continued to draw. The Council meeting began with a tribute to Jack Layton. In his speech, Michael Layton encouraged the rest of Council to work towards building bridges, not burning them, in order to move forward on important issues. Unfortunately his words were in vain. For the next two hours we witnessed a gross show of egotism. As we sat there listening to politicians sling insults back and forth and shout over one another, I couldn’t help but feel totally depressed and increasingly angry at what a waste of time this was for everyone. What was actually being accomplished? Is this how the leaders of our city are allowed to behave at work? I was glad to be drawing, as I couldn’t have sat there and waited patiently had I not been doodling. Most of us, including David, had to leave before the Arts were even mentioned.