Today marks 10 years since the 2nd In Good Company Festival. The first In Good Company Festival held in 2007 celebrated the contributions of women in the arts. In 2008, In Good Company returned to celebrate the creative contributions of immigrants to the cultural landscape.

Both Festivals highlighted the past achievements and early ‘pioneering’ spirit of non-traditional creative expression. For women it was hand-work such as stitching and quilts, personal correspondence, paintings and compositions that had rarely if ever been performed for a public audience.

Present day artists, performers, musicians, writers were given forum for their work. Multiple stages throughout the community were used from large scale venues to black box theatres, intimate galleries and the region’s largest stages. Traditional dance shared the stage with contemporary and classical disciplines; a funk band paired with a world music group; classical Indian dance as well as a classical theatre movement workshops; many, many opportunities to discover the incredible talent contributing to the community’s creative conversation.

The main goal of the 4-week Festivals was to give public space to the voices that are often sidelined, but there were other important reasons for the efforts – including the payment to the performers and contributors. To pay artists for their work validates their efforts and contributes to the region’s creative economy. To that end, multiple partners stood with the Festival including Foundations, Art Councils, private sponsors and the region’s established arts organizations to ensure the contributions were compensated.

In ten years it is extraordinary to realize that the conversations from In Good Company are still part of the public conscience. Creating the capacity for these conversations to begin and in some ways blossom occurred because the invitations were extended and accepted.

Here’s to all the capacity builders who create the opportunity for dialogue – especially through the arts.

Ada Byron, Duchess of Lovelace. Daughter of Anne Isabella Byron and Lord Byron. She’s brilliant and imaginative, with an insatiable curiousity for numbers, an ability to phrase equations that is, well, poetic. She’s our kind of girl. And she is finally getting her due on her 197th birthday!

It is thrilling to have joined the phenomenal production team of Composer Kim Sherman, Librettist Margaret Vandeburg, Director Lisa Rothe, Music Director Kim Grigsby to bring this story to life. Music, math, family tragedy, social expectations, inventions and madness all conspire in the telling of this story. Two important workshops have occurred in New York and the intrepid Kim Sherman is busy with re-writes and orchestrations – ADA would be proud! More information will be posted regarding the next phases of development. There are many and they are exciting!

So today on her  197th birthday I am joining GOOGLE in celebrating the Founder of Scientific Computing, ADA LOVELACE!