Transcript: Helming an International Arts Festival | Oct 14, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, pale blue shirt, and gray plaid tie.

A caption on screen reads "Inspiring the city through arts. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THE LUMINATO ARTS AND CULTURE FESTIVAL HAS BEEN AROUND FOR 13 YEARS. IT HAPPENS EVERY JUNE. BUT FOR SOME REASON, IT'S NEVER REALLY ACHIEVED THE KIND OF PROMINENCE IN ONTARIO'S CAPITAL CITY REGION THAT ITS FOUNDERS ENVISIONED. WHICH MAY BE WHY, WHEN YOU ASK ITS NEW CEO WHAT SHE WANTS TO ACHIEVE ON THE JOB, HER ANSWER IS: I WANT TO INSPIRE THE CITY. A BIG GOAL MADE EVEN HARDER DURING THESE TIMES OF PANDEMIC. LET'S FIND OUT HOW SHE INTENDED TO DO IT. HERE'S CELIA SMITH, THE NEW CEO OF ALUMINUM FESTIVAL TORONTO. AND SHE COMES TO US FROM THE EAST END OF THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL...

Celia is in her thirties, with chin-length chestnut hair. She's wearing glasses and a burgundy jacket.

Steve continues SO NICE TO HAVE YOU ON OUR AIR WAVES FOR THE FIRST TIME. HOW ARE YOU MANAGING?

Celia says WELL, THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO BE RUNNING A LIVE PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL, IT'S FANTASTIC.

[LAUGHTER]

Steve says NOW, ARE YOU BEING FACETIOUS? THAT SURE SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING FACETIOUS?

Celia says HONESTLY IT'S A CRAZY TIME TO DO THIS BUT I THINK EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I DON'T THINK THERE ARE RULES ANYMORE THAT'S OUT THE WINDOW.

Steve says LET'S START WITH THIS. AS WE POINTED OUT IN THE INTRO NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW OF LUMINATO CERTAINLY AS YOU WOULD LIKE. LET'S START THERE, WHAT IS LUMINATO?

The caption changes to "Celia Smith. Luminato Festival Toronto."
Then, it changes again to "Transforming the festival."

Celia says LUMINATO IS AN ANNUAL PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL. IT'S HAPPENED FOR 14 YEARS IN THE CITY OF TORONTO, ALL OVER THE CITY AND IT FEATURES TORONTO'S ARTISTS, THE REGION'S ARTISTS AND USUALLY ARTISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. AND IT'S EVERY KIND OF GENRE YOU MIGHT THINK OF.

Steve says THE WORLD LUMINATO ACTUALLY MEANS ILLUMINATED IN ITALIAN AND IT RAISES A KIND OF CORNY FOLLOW UP FOR ME WHICH IS THAT HAS THIS FESTIVAL NOT SHONE AS BRIGHTLY AS YOU WISH IT WOULD HAVE IN THE PAST?

Celia says I TELL YOU WHAT I WANT TO HAVE HAPPEN. I WANT EVERYONE AROUND THE WORLD EVEN THOSE IN THE SPACE STATION TO SAY: THERE'S A BIG, BRIGHT LIGHT COMING FROM THIS TORONTO REGION. WE CAN SEE IT FROM A DISTANCE. WHAT IS GOING ON? WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON IN TORONTO? WHY ARE THOSE PEOPLE SO OPTIMISTIC? WHY ARE THEY SO FILLED WITH ENERGY AND HOPE AT THIS TIME WHEN THE WHOLE WORLD IS FACING SO MANY SYSTEMIC CHALLENGES? WHY ARE THOSE PEOPLE IN TORONTO? WHY DO THEY THINK THAT THEY CAN TACKLE THIS? WHERE DO THEY GET THEIR ENERGY FROM? AND I THINK LUMINATO SHOULD BE PART OF THAT. PART OF BUILDING THAT KIND OF ENERGY. AND THAT KIND OF HOPE.

Steve says WELL, YOU WERE ESSENTIALLY BROUGHT IN TO TRANSFORM THIS ARTS FESTIVAL. AND I GUESS I WANT TO KNOW, FROM WHAT TO WHAT?

The caption changes to "Celia Smith, @luminato."

Celia says WELL, LUMINATO HAS HAD 14 GREAT YEARS DONE SOME INCREDIBLE WORK, SOME WONDERFUL ART AND WONDERFUL ARTISTS BUT I DON'T THINK EVERYONE IN TORONTO EVEN KNOW WE EXIST. AND OUR PURPOSE IS TO INSPIRE THE CITY REGION AND BY EXTRAPOLATION THE WORLD. SO NEXT YEAR, WE'LL PRODUCE A FESTIVAL REGARDLESS OF THE COVID SITUATION. IT WILL BE ONLINE. IT WILL BE BROADCAST. AND IT WILL BE LIVE. AND IT WILL BE ALL FREE, ALL OUTSIDE. ALL OVER THE CITY AND THE CITY REGION. AND IT WILL INCLUDE ALL LOCAL ARTISTS AND ARTS ORGANIZATIONS. AND IF YOU CAN'T ATTEND, WE'LL BE VIRTUAL AND IF YOU CAN ATTEND, THEN WE'LL BE DANCING IN THE STREETS.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says OKAY. I JOTTED THAT DOWN BECAUSE AS FAR AS I KNOW THOSE THREE ALLS, ALL FREE, ALL OUTSIDE, ALL LOCAL, THAT'S ALL NEW, RIGHT?

Celia says YES. IN ITS ENTIRETY, YES, IT IS.

Steve says BECAUSE CERTAINLY ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE HEARD ABOUT LUMINATO IN THE PAST MIGHT HAVE BEEN FROM PEOPLE WHO SAID THAT LOOKS INTERESTING BUT I AM NOT SURE I CAN AFFORD TO GO BECAUSE IT COSTS TOO MUCH. THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE AN ISSUE NEXT YEAR.

Celia says THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE AN ISSUE. AND IN ADDITION DO THAT THERE ARE MANY THINGS AT THE CORE OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO. THERE IS NO REASON WHY EVERYONE CAPTAIN INVOLVED AND BE INSPIRED BY THIS.

Steve says WHEN I HEAR YOU SAY ALL LOCAL DOES THAT MEAN YOU AREN'T GOING TO BE FLYING PEOPLE IN FROM AROUND THE WORLD AS DID YOU IN THE PAST?

Celia says FOR THE NEXT YEAR I THINK WE SHOULD ALL SHOP LOCAL. WE SHOULD BUY OUR BREAD FROM THE TOP OF THE STREET BECAUSE IF WE DIDN'T THAT BREAD STORE WILL NOT BE HERE AND I FEEL THE SAME ABOUT OUR ARTISTIC COMMUNITY IN THE TORONTO REGION. WE HAVE INCREDIBLE TALENT HERE AND WE NEED TO SUPPORT THEM, ENGAGE WITH THEM AND PUT MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS SO ARTISTS, ARTS ORGANIZATIONS, OTHER CREATORS IN THIS REGION THAT'S WHO WE NEED TO SHOW CASE THIS YEAR. AND GOING FORWARD, WE'LL KEEP THIS AS A BASE ABSOLUTELY. AT SOME POINT WE'LL BE ABLE TO TRAVEL AGAIN AND OF COURSE WE WOULD WELCOME THE BEST FROM AROUND THE WORLD BACK TO TORONTO, YES. BUT THIS YEAR, NO. WORE GOING TO SHOP LOCAL.

Steve says THERE IS SOMETHING KIND OF IRONICALLY COINCIDENTAL ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO RIGHT NOW GIVEN HOW LUMINATO STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. DO YOU WANT TO REMIND US ABOUT 2007 AND WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THIS PROVINCE AT THAT TIME?

Celia says SO WE WERE RECOVERING FROM SARS WHICH HAD DECIMATED THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IN TORONTO AND IN THIS REGION. AND TONY GAGLIANO AND DAVID PICO AND OTHER CIVIC-MINDED CITIZENS CAME UP WITH THE IDEA THAT WE NEEDED A PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL THAT WOULD CELEBRATE THE BEST OF TORONTO AND BRING IT TO THE WORLD AND BRING THE REST OF THE WORLD TO TORONTO. AND THAT WE WOULD ENGAGE ON A CITY BUILDING INITIATIVE THROUGH THE ARTS. THAT WAS THE ORIGIN STORY FOR LUMINATO. AND THAT'S HOW IT STARTED. AND AS WE'VE GONE THROUGH THE YEARS WE'VE DONE THAT TO A GREATER AND LESSER DEGREE. IT'S MORE THAN IRONIC THAT HERE WE'RE 14 YEARS LATER AND, WELL, THIS IS WAY MORE THAN SARS THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DIG OURSELVES OUT OF.

Steve says BIGGER HOLE THIS TIME, ISN'T IT. MUCH BIGGER HOLE.

Celia says YEAH, YEAH.

Steve says I HAVE HEARD YOU DESCRIBE. I KNOW IT'S THE 14th YEAR FOR LUMINATO. BUT I HAVE HEARD YOU DESCRIBE IT AS YEAR MINUS ONE. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Celia says WELL, IF YOU DO THE MATH, WE'LL BE 20 IN 2026 WHICH NORMALLY PEOPLE THINK OF SORT OF FIVE-YEAR PLANS. WELL, THIS IS YEAR MINUS ONE OF THE NEXT FIVE YEARS BECAUSE THIS YEAR IS PURELY AN EXPERIMENTATION YEAR. YOU CAN'T SEE IT ANY OTHER WAY GIVEN THE CURRENT CONDITIONS. EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT HOW WE KNOW WHAT WE DO IN THE PERFORMING ARTS IS BEING CHALLENGED AND CONSTRAINED. SO WE'RE GOING TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. WE'RE GOING TO TRY ALL KINDS OF THINGS AND I WOULD CHALLENGE ANYONE TO SAY THAT ISN'T WHAT YOU DO, THAT'S NOT HOW WE DO IT. WELL, WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT. OF COURSE WE'RE ALL THINKING THAT, BUT ACTUALLY YOU CAN TRY ALL SORTS OF NEW THINGS. THE STUFF THAT'S BEING PRODUCED ONLINE HERE NOW, HERE AND AROUND THE WORLD AND THE QUALITY OF EXPRESSION FROM OUR ARTISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS, WE JUST WOULDN'T HAVE THOUGHT WE COULD HAVE DONE THIS A YEAR AGO. BUT THROUGH CONSTRAINTS PEOPLE ARE COMING UP WITH ALL KINDS OF NEW HYBRID OFFERINGS. SO I THINK YOU HAVE TO SEE IT THAT WAY. IT'S A CHOICE. OPTIMISM IS A CHOICE. BECAUSE THE ALTERNATIVE IS THE EASIER ROUTE.

Steve says SURE. AND JUST TO BE CLEAR IT'S GOING TO BE IN JUNE AGAIN AS ALWAYS?

Celia says IT WILL BE IN JUNE. JUNE 10th AND WE'LL RUN THROUGH THREE WEEKENDS ALL THROUGH THE CITY ALL FREE, ALL OUTSIDE, ALL LOCAL.

Steve says AND ARE YOU PREPARED YET TO GIVE US SOME SORT OF HINTS ABOUT WHAT WE WILL SEE NEXT JUNE?

Celia says WELL, I WILL TELL YOU THAT IF WE'RE ABLE TO BE IN THE STREETS, YOU WILL BE SINGING AND DANCING ALONGSIDE US. WITH SOME FABULOUS ARTISTS. SOME OF WHOM YOU'RE VERY FAMILIAR WITH AND SOME YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF. SO THAT WILL BE EXCITING FOR YOU. AND IF WE'RE NOT ABLE TO BE IN THE STREETS, AND WE'RE ALL IN OUR HOMES, WE'LL HAVE DRONES AND VIDEOGRAPHERS AND FABULOUS FILM MAKERS CAPTURE IT ALL AND SHARE IT WITH YOU ANY WAY.

Steve says OKAY. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT LUMINATO'S BUDGET IS?

Celia says IT'S A 6.5 MILLION dollars BUDGET.

Steve says THAT'S ENOUGH MONEY TO DO SOME PRETTY BIG STUFF, WOULD YOU AGREE?

The caption changes to "It's 'Year minus one.'"

Celia says THAT'S RIGHT, THAT'S RIGHT. AND WE'RE ALSO COLLABORATING WITH A LOT OF OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND HELPING THEM AND SHARE IT WITH THEM TO PRODUCE A LOT OF WORK AND EMPLOY A LOT OF ARTISTS.

Steve says AND WHAT'S THE MIX BETWEEN HOW MUCH YOU GET FROM VARIOUS LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AND HOW MUCH YOU RAISE FROM PRIVATE SOURCES?

Celia says IN THIS CURRENT YEAR, WE GET ABOUT THREE QUARTERS OF IT FROM ALL THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. AND THE REMAINDER... SO SEVERAL MILLION DOLLARS... WE'RE FUNDRAISING. BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ANY TICKET SALES.

Steve says RIGHT, RIGHT. I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT GOVERNMENTS HAVE GONE WILDLY INTO DEBT IN ORDER TO HANDLE THE RAVAGES OF THIS GLOBAL PANDEMIC. ARE YOU SURE THAT THE MONEY THAT YOU'RE COUNTING ON IS GOING TO BE THERE FOR YOU?

Celia says WE'RE IN COMMITMENTS WITH GOVERNMENT AND WE'RE VERY FOCUSED ON DELIVERING WHAT IT IS THAT THEY NEED. THEY NEED US TO HELP BUILD SOCIAL CONFIDENCE AND BRING PEOPLE BACK INTO THE STREETS. AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO. ON THE PHILANTHROPIC AND SPONSOR SIDE WE'VE BEEN ENTERING INTO CONVERSATIONS. AND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY GENEROUS AND RESPONSIVE TO THIS MESSAGE. PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE REACTIVATION OF THE CITY AND BRINGING PEOPLE SOME HOPE.

Steve says AND YOU FEEL, WHAT, A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF PRESSURE ON YOUR SHOULDERS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THAT AND MAKE THAT HAPPY SUPPOSE?

Celia says WE WILL BE A CONVENER AND A CATALYST TO THAT. I LIKE TO SAY I'M NOT AT THE FRONT OF THE PARADE I LIKE TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARADE AS WE FIGURE THIS OUT.

Steve says YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY IN POLITICS IS THAT IF YOU'RE A LEADER, AND YOU GOT NOBODY FOLLOWING YOU, YOU'RE JUST A GUY OUT FOR A WALK. SO YOU DON'T WANT TO BE THAT I PRESUME.

Celia says NEW YORK CITY THAT'S NOT VERY INTERESTING TO ME.

Steve says CAN I JUST ASK ABOUT YOU, YOU ARE NEW ON THE JOB. THERE ARE LOTS OF PEOPLE WATCHING WHO DON'T KNOW YOU. WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHERE DID YOU COME FROM PREVIOUS TO TAKING ON THE LUMINATO RESPONSIBILITIES?

Celia says RIGHT. WELL, I LIVED IN TORONTO SINCE I WAS 10. BUT I GREW UP IN NORTHERN ONTARIO WHICH THOSE WHO KNOW ME SAYS THAT SAYS EVERYTHING ABOUT WHO I AM AND MY APPROACH. I RAN CANADIAN STAGE FOR MANY YEARS AND WORKED IN THE ARTS SECTOR IN TORONTO. AND THEN FOR A LONG TIME WAS ONE OF THE LEADERS AT ARTSCAPE THAT IS A NOT-FOR-PROFIT. I BUILT AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR ARTISTS AND THEIR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY HUBS LIKE DANIEL SPECTRUM IN REGENT PARK, THOSE KINDS OF PLACES. AND THEN MOST RECENTLY I WAS WORKING FOR AN ENLIGHTENED PRIVATE DEVELOPER EQUALLY BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN PUBLIC REALM SPACES SO I LITERALLY HAVE SPENT THE LAST 15 YEARS BUILDING THE CITY SO I WOULD SAY THAT I GUESS I GET TO HAVE THAT TITLE AS A CITY BUILDER LEGITIMATELY. BUT NOW I'M GOING TO DO IT IN IS A MORE EPHEMERAL WAY.

Steve says AND WHERE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO ARE YOU FROM?

Celia says NORTH BAY, TROUT LAKE NORTH BAY.

Steve says PEOPLE WHO REALLY LIVE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO WOULD NOT CONSIDER NORTH BAY NORTHERN ONTARIO.

Celia says I KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO SAY THAT BUT IF YOU HAVE EVER LIVED THROUGH A WINTER IN NORTH BAY I THINK WE GET TO CLAIM THAT.

Steve says I HAVE SPENT LOTS OF TIME IN SUDBURY SO, THEREFORE, I FEEL YAH AS THE KIDS SAY. I THINK THAT'S THE EXPRESSION. YOU KNOW, I'M NOT FROM TORONTO BUT I HAVE LIVED HERE FOR 42 YEARS. BUT YOU ASKED ME WHERE I'M FROM AND I SAY HAMILTON IN THE SAME WAY I'M FROM NORTHERN ONTARIO.

Celia says SAYS IT ALL.

Steve says DO YOU THINK IT'S ACTUALLY MORE HELPFUL TO BE FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE AND YET TRANSPLANTED HERE TO DO YOUR THING?

Celia says WELL, I THINK THE STATS SAY THAT MOST OF US WHO LIVE IN TORONTO CONSIDER THAT WE CAME FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE. SO WE'RE A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO BE HERE. SO I THINK THAT SAYS A LOT ABOUT US. I HAVE... AGAIN, IT'S A CHOICE TO LIVE IN TORONTO. I HAVE HIGH HOPES FOR THIS CITY. I THINK THAT WE HAVE A LOT OF BRILLIANT PEOPLE HERE. AND I THINK WE CAN FIGURE SOME THINGS OUT.

Steve says LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT ONE OF THE CRITICISMS THAT WE HAVE HEARD IN THE PAST ABOUT LUMINATO WHICH IS THAT IT HAS BEEN SEEN IN SOME QUARTERS AS THAT KIND OF ARTSY FARTSY FESTIVAL WHICH IS LOCATED BOTH GEOGRAPHICALLY AND IN ITS SENSIBILITY AS BEING A DOWNTOWN THING AND IF YOU AREN'T REALLY PART OF THE DOWNTOWN SCENE YOU DON'T REALLY HAVE A PIECE OF THE ACTION. I GUESS FIRST QUESTION IS IS THAT A FAIR CRITICISM FROM THE PAST?

The caption changes to "Downtown versus the region."

Celia says I THINK IT'S A BROAD CRITICISM. YOU CAN SAY THAT ON SOME OF THE PROGRAMMING AND SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES THAT IS TRUE. I ALSO KNOW THAT LUMINATO HAS PRODUCED ALL OVER THE CITY IN THE PAST AND PRODUCED A LOT OF FREE LOCAL WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE COMMUNITY. BUT I THINK THE TAKE AWAY IS PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER THAT. THE IDEA THEY HAVE IN THEIR HEAD IS ONE OF A DOWNTOWN ORGANIZATION. SO WHETHER THAT WAS THE REALITY OR NOT. SO I THINK TO COUNTER THAT, TO LEGITIMATELY GO INTO A WIDE NUMBER OF NEIGHBOURHOODS AND REALLY CONNECT WITH PEOPLE THERE AND REALLY OFFER PARTICIPATION IN A WAY THAT IS REALLY MEMORABLE AND TRANSFORMATIVE, I THINK THAT'S HOW YOU OVERCOME IT.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON THAT, THEN. IF YOU LIVE IN... LIKE NEVER MIND NORTH YORK OR SCARBOROUGH, BUT IF YOU LIVE IN YORK REGION, IF YOU LIVE IN THORNHILL, OSHAWA OR MISSISSAUGA, ARE YOU GOING TO FEEL ROOTED TO LUMINATO IN A WAY THAT YOU HADN'T IN THE PAST IF YOU HAVE YOUR WAY?

Celia says YES. SO WE'RE LOOKING AT SOME PROGRAMMING NEXT YEAR THAT'S IN ONE OF THOSE LOCATIONS THAT YOU JUST MENTIONED THAT I WON'T CONFIRM. AND IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR, LOOKING AT SEVERAL MORE OF THOSE LOCATIONS. BECAUSE PART OF IT IS ACTUALLY BRINGING THE WORK AND ACTUALLY PARTICIPATING WITH THE ARTISTS AND THE CITIZENS IN THOSE AREAS... ACTUALLY DOING IT. SO, YES, YOU'LL SEE SOME NEXT YEAR AND MORE THE YEAR AFTER.

Steve says AND THE IDEA IS TO DO EVENTS IN THESE LOCATIONS OUTSIDE OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO NOT MERELY... I SHOULDN'T SAY "MERELY... BUT NOT SOLELY HAVING THEM HOOKED UP VIA ONLINE.

Celia says THAT'S RIGHT. IT WILL ALL BE LIVE WORK. THE BASIS WILL BE LIVE WORK WHICH WE WILL THEN FILM AND BROADCAST. NOW, WHETHER THERE ARE MORE THAN 25 OF US IN THE LIVE EXPERIENCE WILL BE ANOTHER MATTER OUTSIDE OF MY CONTROL RIGHT NOW.

Steve says SPEAKING OF WHICH, HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU GOT ON STAFF TO MAKE ALL THIS HAPPEN ANY WAY?

Celia says A SMALL BUT MIGHTY TEAM. THERE ARE ABOUT 20 PEOPLE FULL-TIME AT LUMINATO. AND THEN MANY DOZENS MORE CONTRACTORS, FABULOUS PRODUCERS, OBVIOUSLY ARTISTS AND PARTNERS WHO PARTICIPATE AND HELP US AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE FESTIVAL SO THAT'S QUITE A LARGE TEAM. ALSO I SHOULD SAY ABOUT 700 VOLUNTEERS.

Steve says HUH. AND LET ME ASK THE DONALD TRUMP QUESTION HERE I WHICH IS: WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM, THE VOLUNTEERS, WHY DO THEY DO IT?

Celia says I WASN'T SURE WHAT QUESTION YOU WERE GOING TO COME UP WITH. I SEEM TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH SOMETHING THAT'S FUN AND EXCITING AND TRANSFORMATIVE FOR THE CITY. I THINK THAT'S REALLY ATTRACTIVE AND WE TAKE CARE OF OUR VOLUNTEERS SO THEY HAVE A REWARDING TIME.

Steve says I PRESUME YOU DO DO A LOT OF SITTING AROUND, THOUGH, WONDERING WHAT THE STATUS OF THE PANDEMIC WILL BE NEXT JUNE, NOT RIGHT NOW. WE KNOW WE'RE INTO A SECOND WAVE RIGHT NOW. BUT BY NEXT JUNE WHERE THIS THING MAY BE BECAUSE PRESUMABLY THAT WILL HUGELY FACTOR INTO WHAT YOU CAN OR CANNOT DO, AM I RIGHT?

The caption changes to "Planning in a pandemic."

Celia says YES. SO WE HAVE SORT OF THREE DOORS IN THE GAME SHOW IF YOU WILL. AND DOOR "B" IS IF I WAS TO PRODUCE THE FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND. THESE CONDITIONS THAT WE'RE UNDER, SORT OF A VERSION OF A LOCK DOWN, A LITTLE OUTSIDE A LITTLE BUTT NOT WILL HAVE A VIRTUAL VERSION OF WHAT WE'RE DOING BASED ON LIVE EXPERIENCES AND A FEW PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO BE THERE IN THE STREETS WITH US. AND IF IT GETS WORSE, THEN IT'S ENTIRELY VIRTUAL AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY LIMITED IN TERMS OF LIVE EXPERIENCE. IF IT GETS BETTER, THAT'S THE EASY PART. WE'RE VERY ACCUSTOMED TO DOING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ATTENDING LARGE SCALE EVENTS. SO IT WOULD BE TERRIFIC IF WE CAN ACTUALLY MOVE TOWARDS THAT. BUT WE'RE KIND OF PLANNING FOR ALL THREE SCENARIOS.

Steve says YOU ARE PLANNING FOR THREE DIFFERENT SCENARIOS RIGHT NOW.

Celia says YES.

Steve says OKAY. THAT SOUNDS COMPLICATED, IS IT? NOW.

Celia says NOT REALLY. THE MAIN SCENARIO IS IF I WAS DOING IT THIS WEEKEND IT'S VIRTUAL AND IT'S LIVE AND IT'S LIVE WITH A LIMITED AUDIENCE. SO IT'S GOING TO BE LIVE REGARDLESS. SO IN THE WORST CASE IT'S JUST LIVE. I'M SORRY, IT'S JUST BROADCAST. AND IN THE BEST OF SITUATIONS, WE WOULD WELCOME MORE PEOPLE. BUT THE MAIN EXPERIENCE IS A COVID-FRIENDLY, SOCIALLY DISTANCED, SAFE SAFE FESTIVAL.

Steve says ARE THERE ANY FESTIVALS IN NORTH AMERICA OR AROUND THE WORLD THAT YOU POINT TO AND SAY THAT'S A MODEL FOR US? WE NEED TO BE MORE LIKE THAT? WE'RE TAKING OUR CUES FROM THEM BECAUSE THEY DO IT SO WELL. I'D LOVE TO... WHATEVER THEY'VE GOT I WANT TO BOTTLE THAT AND BRING IT HERE AND, IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

Celia says I WOULD SAY WE'RE ALL JUST FIGURING IT OUT. I DON'T KNOW HOW FAMILIAR YOU ARE WITH THE FESTIVAL CIRCUIT. EVERYONE HAS A CERTAIN TIME OF YEAR. THE ONES IN JANUARY GOT AWAY FROM THEIR FESTIVALS AND ARE NOW MADLY PLANNING. WE'LL BE WATCHING HOW THINGS GO FOR THEM REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY'RE IN AUSTRALIA OR ASIA OR WHATEVER AND HOW MUCH THEY'RE ABLE TO HYBRID IT AND HOW MUCH THEY'RE ABLE TO DO LIVE. SO WE ARE DEFINITELY LOOKING AT THAT AND WE ARE CONSTANT CONTACT WITH THEM BECAUSE WE WOULD BE ANY WAY IN THE BIG CIRCUIT. IN DUBLIN THERE WAS A THEATRE FESTIVAL OUT IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS AND IT'S WORTH JUST LOOKING THEM UP. BECAUSE VERY CLEVER SWITCH ON THEIR PROGRAMMING TO ONE-PERSON SHOWS, ONE AUDIENCE MEMBER, ONE ARTIST A SHOW. OR A COMPLETE... THE SHOW IS COMPLETELY ON THE TELEPHONE, THAT KIND OF THING. IT'S WORTH LOOKING AT. IT'S LIKE WOW THEY MUST HAVE A LOT OF FUNDING IN IRELAND. BUT REGARDLESS, IT'S VERY CREATIVE AND INVENTIVE. THERE ARE A MILLION GREAT EXAMPLES AROUND THE WORLD HOW PEOPLE ARE DOING THIS AND A LOT HERE, FANTASTIC WORK FROM LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS WHO REALLY HAVE FIGURED OUT A DIFFERENT WAY OF PRESENTING WHAT THEY'RE DOING RIGHT NOW. SO WE LOOK AT ALL OF THAT AND TALK TO ALL OF THEM.

Steve says I ASSUME IN NORMAL TIMES YOU WOULD BE HOPPING ON PLANES ALL THE TIME TO GO TO THESE FESTIVALS TO PICK UP TIPS AND MAKE HELPFUL CONTACTS AND SO ON. DO I FIGURE YOU CAN'T DO ANY OF THAT NOW?

Celia says MY FRIEND ZOOM.

Steve says ALL ZOOM ALL THE TIME.

Celia says ALL ZOOM EVERY DAY, ALL THE TIME.

Steve says HOW ARE YOU FINDING THAT?

Celia says WELL, I'M LEADING A TEAM OF PEOPLE THAT, EXCEPT FOR A PICNIC IF THE PARK, VIRTUAL VISIT IN THE PARK, I HAVEN'T MET. I HAVE BEEN LEADING THEM SINCE THE SPRING AND I DON'T ACTUALLY GET TO MEET THEM IN PERSON. WE DO IT LIKE THIS. AND IT'S REMARKABLE HOW YOU CAN MAKE DO. IT'S ACTUALLY OKAY.

Steve says OKAY. THAT IS... WHAT'S THE TECHNICAL WORD I'M LOOKING FOR HERE... THAT IS CRAZY. YOU HAVE ALL THESE EMPLOYEES AND YOU HAVEN'T EVEN MET THEM YET.

Celia says RIGHT.

Steve says RIGHT.

Celia says SO WE MET ONCE IN A PARK SO WE LAID EYES ON EACH OTHER SO WE KNOW WE EXIST. BUT THAT'S IT. WHAT'S INTERESTING IS YOU HAVE TO WORK HARDER AT UNDERSTANDING THE CUES BECAUSE IT'S FILTERED, RIGHT? WE HAVE TO GET ALONG WITH IT ANY WAY. AND I DON'T THINK WE'RE GOING BACK TO IN PERSON FOR SOME TIME SO WE HAVE TO MAKE THIS WORK.

Steve says HOW LONG IS YOUR TERM WITH LUMINATO?

Celia says SIX YEARS. BECAUSE THE CHAIR, PETER HERNDORF AND I HAVE DISCUSSED THE 2026 ANNIVERSARY OF LUMINATO AS THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND WE'D BOTH LIKE TO GET TO THE MOUNTAIN TOP. WE HAVE A VISION TO GET THERE TOGETHER AND THEN WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS AFTERWARDS.

Steve says WE SHOULD SAY IN THE INTERESTS OF FULL DISCLOSURE Mr. HERNDORF IS THE FORMER CHAIR AND CEO OF THIS ORGANIZATION AND HAD THE GREAT MISJUDGMENT OF BRINGING ME IN HERE 28 YEARS AGO.

Celia says AND I WOULD SECOND THAT.

Steve says WE PUT THAT ON THE RECORD FOR PEOPLE'S EDIFICATION. PREMIER FORD HAS THIS SLOGAN HE LIKES TO SAY IS I CAN'T MAKE DECISION FC I CAN'T MEASURE STUFF. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR HIM TO HAVE TESTING RESULTS TO MEASURE HOW WELL THEY'RE DOING AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY. I GUESS I'D WANT TO MAKE THE SAME KIND OF... PUT THE SAME KIND OF QUESTION TO YOU: HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF THE NEW LUMINATO FESTIVAL COMING NEXT JUNE IS SUCCESSFUL?

Celia says WELL, THERE ARE SOME SPECIFIC QUANTITATIVE THINGS WE CAN DO. WE CAN TRACK THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO PARTICIPATE. EITHER LIVE OR VIRTUALLY. WE CAN, YOU KNOW, TRACK WHERE THEY'RE COMING FROM, HOW LONG THEY PARTICIPATE, WHAT THEY'RE INTERESTED IN. AND YOU CAN DO SOME EXTRAPOLATION FROM THAT TO SEE WHETHER ANY OTHER IMPACTS IN THE COMMUNITY AS A RESULT OF THEIR PARTICIPATION WITH US. IT'S GOING TO BE CHALLENGING. BECAUSE SO MUCH OF IT MAY BE VIRTUALLY BUT NONETHELESS. SO WE'LL QUANTIFY THAT AND WE ACCEPTABLE SURVEY EVERYBODY AFTER THEIR EXPERIENCES SO WE ALSO HAVE SOME IDEA OF, YOU KNOW, WHAT WERE THE OTHER SOFTER IMPACTS OF THE EXPERIENCE ON THEM IN ADDITION TO-DO, SAY, ECONOMIC OR SOCIAL IMPACTS. SO WE DO ALL OF THAT EVERY YEAR ANY WAY. AND WE SET UP OUR OWN BENCHMARKS AND SEE IF WE CAN EXCEED THOSE. I THINK, IN ADDITION, BECAUSE WE'RE IN THIS TIME, THERE ARE SOME VERY SPECIFIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT SOCIAL CONFIDENCE. THAT WE SHOULD BE PUTTING ON OURSELVES. AND I HAVE REVIEWED THIS WITH THE TEAM QUITE EXTENSIVELY. ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IS TO BRING US ALL BACK OUT INTO THE STREET. AND HELP US GET OVER... WE'RE ALL FILLED WITH ANXIETY. ANXIETY ABOUT BEING OUT. ANXIETY ABOUT ARE YOU GOING TO COME TOO CLOSE TO ME? ARE YOU SICK AND YOU DON'T KNOW IT? THERE'S JUST A LOT THAT WE'RE ALL LIVING WITH. AND SO HOW CAN WHAT WE DO ACTUALLY INSPIRE PEOPLE TO COME BACK OUT SAFELY AND BUILD THE CONFIDENCE TO INTERACT AGAIN? BECAUSE IF WE DO THAT, THEN WE MIGHT GO BACK TO HAVING A RESILIENT COMMUNITY AND SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS AND EVERYTHING ELSE THAT WE LOVE ABOUT THE CITY. SO IT'S... HOW WE MEASURE THAT, THAT WILL BE A CHALLENGE TO FIGURE THAT OUT. AND ONE OF THE FACTORS THAT WILL BE WORKS AGAINST US.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin."

Steve says WELL, HOWEVER YOU DO IT, WE WISH YOU WELL. YOU'VE GOT A BIG CHALLENGE AHEAD. THAT'S CELIA SMITH, WHO IS THE NEW CEO OF THE LUMINATO FESTIVAL TORONTO. AND WE ARE REALLY GRATEFUL YOU SPARED SOME TIME FOR US ON TVO TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Celia says THANKS, STEVE.

Watch: Helming an International Arts Festival