So here we are. It’s the year’s first ANDY. Only this time I’m behind the scenes, and I’m a bit nervous. I really hope you like the issue. In the future, I’m sure the layout will be nicer, the writing more expressive, and the criticism more humorous and true. But for now, we have this. What is this, anyway?

I think ANDY can be so many things. There’s the old standbys: interviews with artists, shrewd pop-culture analysis, and entertainment writing that is actually entertaining, like Bahar’s hilarious and expressive “Bahar’s Book Bag”.

We need all that stuff, but there’s something else ANDY can be. I think we have a great opportunity, being in Hamilton, to see the arts being an active part of this city’s growth. To see what I mean, check out Alex Epp’s thoughtful “Provoking Thoughts”.

Within the last 30 years, Hamilton has been trying to dust itself off after the decline of the industry that built it. You may have seen t-shirts around saying “Art is the New Steel”, and while the slogan might be unintentionally dismissive to the people who have lost their jobs, the shirts have a message: that when there’s nothing left, you have to make something yourself. And part of what people are making is art.

James Street North is the go-to example. In the 90’s, the street was written off by city councilors who said that shops would never return to the area. Now it’s the site of the city’s biggest arts street festival of the year, Supercrawl.

We have the chance to see why art mattrs in the growth of a community, and hopefully ANDY can be a part of documenting it.

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