Peter Kerek

Electoral Riding

Kamloops-North Thompson

Party Affiliation

Communist Party of BC

Your Vision for Arts + Culture

Will you advocate for an increased investment to the BC Arts Council and to maintain or increase the current funding level for arts, culture and heritage in your community?

Yes. My supports increased levels of opportunities for working artists, as well as amateur artists, with a focus on broader participation and reducing the financial barriers to participation.

Advocacy

Will you take an active role on behalf of your community to lobby senior levels of government to increase levels of investment to the BC Arts Council?

Yes. Art should not be market driven. Art should be accessible to those with few means. That means there needs to be a stable source of funding and only government can guarantee that funding.

Support

If you are in favour of increased investment in arts, culture, and heritage for our province and committed to lobbying senior levels of government for increases to the BC Arts Council, would you require additional advocacy support from the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture? If so, how can we help?

There needs to be far greater collaboration with communities, schools, artists, etc., to ensure people have the opportunity to participate in cultural events, as performers, producers, and observers. The BC Alliance for Arts could surely play a role as advocates and coordinators, but, there really should be greater expansions into the education system so that young talent can have opportunities to express themselves in a productive and meaningful way. Our education system is the real foundation for a vibrant future of culture in BC.

Cultural Growth

In your view, how can our provincial government maintain or grow the cultural sector across British Columbia?

The provincial government needs to have a much longer plan in place. We should be looking at nurturing young artists from their earliest days of elementary school by giving them far greater exposure to a variety of artistic outlets and removing the financial barriers that currently exist. Our education system must have a more robust arts program for every school, regardless of their socio-economic status. 

BC has plenty of venues, big and small, for performers on performance night. So many, however, are too costly for the starving artist to rent, or, their art is not highly marketable, so owners are not inclined to host them. This is not a great environment for artists making their way through their early years, and, surely, many talented artists never reach their potential because they never overcome these financial hurdles nor can they hone their skills because they're just too focused on getting by. 

The government should take the initiative in creating, right across the province, housing co-ops for artists who need affordable housing and space to practice their art. The co-ops should be highly subsidized by the government and also have space for performances and galleries so that they become a cultural hub in their community. These co-op spaces could be awarded on a grant or scholarship basis and ensure there is representation from a broad spectrum of peoples from all parts of our society.

Cultural + Creative Spaces

Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural and creative spaces for artists and arts organizations in British Columbia? If so, how?

I will work towards creating affordable, sustainable, cultural spaces for artists right across the province. I would support housing co-ops for artists who need affordable housing and space to practice their art. The co-ops should be highly subsidized by the government and also have space for performances and galleries so that they become a cultural hub in their community. These co-op spaces could be awarded on a grant or scholarship basis and ensure there is representation from a broad spectrum of peoples from all parts of our society. 

Our Party also supports a Guaranteed Minimum Income and other measures to ensure nobody lives in poverty. The ability to know that one will not become homeless would go great steps to allowing starting artists to master their craft rather than abandon it for menial work. 

These co-ops could be integrated into performing arts centres.

Cultural Tourism

How will you improve cultural tourism in your community? How do you propose to attract and retain artists and cultural workers in your community?

Our Party supports a reduction in the number of hours a full-time worker works from 40 to 32. Not only would this force employers to hire roughly 20% more employees and virtually eliminate unemployment, it would give many people more time to recreate and enjoy the cultural presentations in their community, and, possibly, to explore their own talents and become a contributing member of the cultural community. 

As mentioned in the earlier replies I support the creation of art hubs - a combination of affordable housing built into performing arts centres. There also needs to be increased funding for artists to master their crafts without the cost of rent destroying their artistic endeavors before they ever get started. Take a look at Cuba, sure the weather's great, but there's music and art on every corner - and that's what makes it such a wonderful place for tourism: that doesn't happen by accident, there's tons of investment by government to support artists from cradle to grave.

Key Issues

What do you feel to be the single most important issue currently relating to arts, culture and heritage in British Columbia, and what action will you take to address it?

I feel we should be increasing funding for arts programs in public education and then supporting them with more publicly funded spaces to master their crafts.

Participation

How do you personally engage in the creative and cultural life of your community, and more broadly, the province? (e.g. committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)

I have acted in a few short films, including the award winning, "Why Does God Hate Me?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8oaBhcArbE . I was in a few theatre productions while attending Thompson Rivers University; my favourite role was when I played Tom O'Folliard in Michael Ondaatje's "The Collected Works of Billy the Kid". 

I've been in a couple bands and my current band is called Better Red Than Dead in which I sing, play bass, and am the principle song-writer, manager and lyricist (we are in the process of recording our first full album and we are scheduled to release our first single within the next few weeks). 

My oldest daughter takes dance lessons and all my kids enjoy using our drum kit or keyboards. I also play keyboards but just for fun and for teaching my kids when they're in the mood for learning. I was an award-winning saxophone player in high school and also played mallet percussion in high school. 

I used to go out to a lot of live music shows, big and small, all around Southern BC, but my kids are six, four and one, so my priorities about what I do with my spare time are more about their needs than mine, therefore, I don't get out much anymore.

Additional Feedback

If you would like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture and heritage issues in British Columbia, please use the space below. Hint: sharing personal stories or experience about how art, culture and heritage have impacted your life are often the best way to effectively connect with your readers!

The most profound experiences that shaped my political perspective on culture were my trips to Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and Havana. I've spent a lot of time over the years In Vancouver where the music and entertainment was largely indoors, so there was little feeling that there was a lot of cultural action in the downtown core. In Montreal and Havana there always seemed to be more people on the streets, day and night, with more noise and street performers and mingling of many different groups of people. Street performers were licensed and encouraged by government officials in Montreal and Havana. 

The experience of Montreal and Havana were so richer because everything felt much more intimate and open - that people weren't afraid of making a little noise in the streets or talking to strangers. All of the “action” was more concentrated and within walking distance of everything else. The political climate was much different too however; Vancouver has very stark differences between the poorest and wealthiest members of their city and this surely undermines the feeling of social cohesion when one walks the streets of Vancouver. That class-based superiority complex surely does not exist in Havana and was much less present in Montreal when compared to many other Canadian cities. 

I'm confident that the prevalence of culture on the streets has a great humanitarian influence on how people get along, how they treat each other, and how they accept diversity.