Christine Boyle & Brandon Yan
Party or Slate (if applicable)
Do you know how much your local government invests in the arts? Would you commit to advocating for an increase in that cultural investment for arts, culture, and heritage in your community, within the capacity of your elected body?
Yes, we would advocate for an increase in cultural investment, specifically targeted at smaller and emergent organizations. At present, 56% of city funding goes to art/culture organizations founded before 1960. Arts and culture are dynamic and this means we need to support new organizations that reflect the reality of the shifting landscape. We also need to shift funding to organizations that show they are supportive of diversity and equity throughout (staff, board, projects).
If elected, will you take an active role on behalf of your local government in championing the growth of arts, culture and heritage in your community? Why?
Yes! Brandon Yan is the education director at an arts and culture non-profit organization (Out on Screen) and so has firsthand experience and understanding of the transformative potential for arts in a community. We talk a lot about affordability, and making the city liveable. That's critically important, but we also need to talk about why people want to live here, and the things that make a community strong. Arts and culture are foundational to a community's understanding of who they are, and what brings us together.
Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages and are three times more likely to get a degree. Will you commit to making the arts a critical component of every child’s education? If so, how?
Our colleagues who are running for the Vancouver School Board are committed to preserving and expanding access to arts. Art, culture, and music should not be reserved for families who are able to pay for private programming outside of school. Instead, they should be available for everyone.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
As we've stated above, we would focus our investment on newer, smaller, and more diverse organizations. We think artists and arts spaces should be open throughout our city, not just concentrated in the downtown core. We also think that the city could bring in more artists in consultatory capacity in all areas of city planning.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
Yes. One barrier to survival for arts organizations is paying the rent. We propose the following:
1. Exempting buildings that house artists and non-profit organizations serving a minimum number of cultural workers and organizations from property tax (to be developed in further consultation with local arts-serving spaces).
2. Developing a mechanism through which landlords serving cultural groups are given a tax exemption, with a mechanism to guarantee this exemption is passed on fully to those tenants.
3. Examining the successes and challenges of the implementation of a similar policy in Toronto. https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/09/26/401-richmond-getting-property-tax-relief.html
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
The biggest barrier in our community, Vancouver, is housing affordability. We have a comprehensive array of affordable housing policies we invite you to check out here: http://www.onecityvancouver.ca/affordable_city We believe our affordable housing plans can make the city more affordable for artists and culture worker, which will in turn benefit our whole community, economically and otherwise.
What do you feel is the single most important issue relating to arts, culture, and heritage in your community, and what action will you take to address it?
As we stated above, we believe that the most important issue is affordable housing. Every day, we hear from people who work in arts and culture and in adjacent industries, wondering how they will be able to survive in Vancouver given the cost of housing. Arts and culture is a major employment sector in our city, and we simply can't afford to lose these workers - from a fiscal perspective, and when we look at the kind of vibrant, diverse, connected community we want to live in. We will create new taxes (including our Land Value Capture) and use the money to create thousands of units of affordable, publicly owned housing every year.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
Brandon Yan is the education director for Out On Screen, and is central to producing their annual Queer Film Festival. Beyond that, he's a regular attendee at Vancouver's drag scene (his brother is the queen Maiden China).
Christine Boyle is a United Church minister who most recently worked at Canadian Memorial United Church, which hosted regular arts and culture events within and beyond its own programming. She's also a regular theatregoer (a pass holder to the Cultch) and attendee of live music events (you can find her racing for a front blanket at the Folk Fest every year).