Muse Cruising to laurels
DTM’s Marianne Garrah and her partner David Baker created Muse Cruise a year ago. Chosen from among 125 nominations, the project is a Web-based showcase of Canadian arts and culture created for self-guided touring.
It is evolving slowly as they are headed west this month to build some links with British Columbia. Next summer, Digital Time Machine will travel east to make some Maritime connections. Essentially, users have access to the artists, musicians and painters who can provide the kind of connection to a place that Garrah believes creates the most sustainable tourist experience.
“The site is being hit from all over,” Garrah said. “Google analytics show Ottawa, Nova Scotia, some American hits, anyone who may be traveling and want to hit on some cultural attractions.”
Garrah is dismayed at the gap between what Albertans spend on cultural activities versus what the industry receives in government support. When they met with the Economic Development Minister last December to make sure he knew of the Muse Cruise and the immense culture industry in Alberta, Garrah quoted him as saying “Culture isn’t considered an economic indicator for the province.”
For Garrah and many other artists in the province, culture is the sense of identity that holds people to a place. Edmonton Journal columnist Tobb Babiak referred to Jasper in his column last weekend – “Using culture as a tourist magnet, for those who aren’t interested in mountain climbing or snowboarding, makes wonderful sense…”
Digital Time Machine is making their way north in the winter to visit Fort McMurray, concerned about how culture is developing in a town reeling from growing pains.
“We have heard that the camps have brought in hookers for entertainment and to keep their workers satisfied,” she said. “These folks all come from small rural communities where Saturday night meant fiddling and jigging — not sleeping with a hooker!”
The TIAC Awards event will be held at Jasper Park Lodge on October 23rd.
Check out Muse Cruise at www.musecruise.com