As part of the media coverage for FLOURISH (April 25-28), not your boys club will be having conversations with some of the folks that will be organizing, creating, and performing at the festival.

For the third interview in this series, I spoke with one of the staff members at Charlotte Street Arts Centre (a FLOURISH venue), Eva George (she/they). With over ten years’ experience working at organizations that serve youth & community, she now oversees social development programming at CSAC. As part of this position, she is planning and organizing a music festival called FEST FORWARD that gives space to emerging musicians and their professional development. Outside of CSAC, Eva loans her time to planning and organizing two growing music festivals, Feels Good Follyfest and St. Andrews Paddlefest.

eva george

Photo by Julie Easley

For folks that are unfamiliar with Charlotte Street Arts Centre, can you first give me an overview of its role in the community?

Charlotte Street Arts Centre is a focal point of community based arts.  We are unique in that we offer free programming to individuals and groups who might usually face financial barriers to accessing the arts.  We also have two galleries and we are the home to a growing list of tenants who are rooted in the arts, for example NB Film Co-Op has been a long time resident as well as a number of artists and dancers who have studios in our building.  Our newly renovated space and annex has given us physical accessibility with an elevator that services all levels of the building. We have a beautiful auditorium which has hosted many great performances.

I’m curious to know more about your position as ArtReach Program Manager – can you share with me what kind of programming you develop and offer through CSAC?

As ArtReach Program Manager I work with our community partners to go after funding opportunities so that we can offer them free arts based programming.  We partner with The Multi-Cultural Association of Fredericton, The Boys & Girls Club, Evelyn Grove Manor, Fredericton Mental Health & Addictions as well as Youth in Transition to name a few.  Our programming is very much based on the needs expressed by the communities we serve and we hire professional artists to facilitate our programs. Along with Penny from Motherhood and Jane Blanchard we created the very first Girls+ Rock Camp in New Brunswick which has since grown to Moncton and Saint John is planning their first camp as well.  

In this position, as a board member at Youth in Transition, facilitator for Girls+ Rock Camp, and as a parent, I’m wondering if you can you speak to how important it is to offer art and music spaces that are accessible to youth?

Young people are really great at taking the lead and doing amazing things when adults step out of the way and give them space to do so.  Our Girls+ Rock Camp really has been a highlight of my career in youth/community work. I have always been of the mind set that if you can’t see it, you won’t be it, so by giving Girls+ the opportunity to take centre stage through the support of our (wo)mentors from the local music community we are hopefully transforming the future of the music scene which historically has been overly dominated by men.  

In speaking with Jane, the co-director of Flourish Festival, it is clear how important all-ages programming is to the festival. What are you feeling especially excited to host at CSAC during Flourish Festival this year?

We are super excited to host a Girls+ Rock Jam with some of the visiting bands on the Saturday afternoon of FLOURISH.  I have a super big band crush on Motherhood so I am really pumped for their show here on Friday and we don’t get enough Jane Blanchard these days so I am really looking forward to that show on Saturday evening.

Contribution by Nikki A Basset

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