City/Town Council; Regional Director
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?
In 2018, I made a motion that increased the City of Victoria’s Festival Investment Grants by 33%. If re-elected, I will continue to push for increased investments in arts and culture at the City and Regional level.
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. As an artist and festival director I know first hand how critical local government support for arts, culture and heritage is. I will continue to be a strong advocate for arts and culture, including emerging arts. I recognize the need for artist housing and arts spaces and am committed to expanding opportunities for artists in this regard.
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?
This is not municipal jurisdiction but I’m happy to help advocate for a strong arts component in education curriculums. I am the Founder and Director of Victorious Voices Youth Arts Festival which operates in partnership with many secondary schools across Greater Victoria. I’ve seen first hand how the arts can improve educational performance and, perhaps more importantly, how outlets for self expression can improve mental wellness and create a sense of belonging.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
I was the Co-chair of the advisory committee which guided the City of Victoria’s new Create Victoria arts and culture masterplan. The City will maintain and grow its investment in cultural programs by implementing this plan.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
Yes. I will seek to create protections for arts spaces, provide ongoing funding, and help build partnerships to open new arts spaces. I will continue to support the creation of an arts hub in Bastion Square.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
I will continue to help create connections between Tourism Victoria and arts and culture organizations. Tourism is shifting and visitors are now more likely to want to “live like locals” while they’re on vacation. This creates opportunities for emerging arts organizations and smaller festivals to benefit from the City of Victoria’s booming tourism industry.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
The biggest issue affecting the attraction and retention of artists is the cost of living in Victoria. Affordable housing is my top political priority. Specific to artists, I will push for artist housing to be considered a type of housing that is geared to income and eligible for housing grants. I will also push for zoning changes that allow for more live/work space opportunities for artists.
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?
Affordability. The cost of land is making it unaffordable for artists to live and we are losing venues and creative spaces. I will push for increased protections of arts spaces and for more affordable housing options for artists. I will also seek to build bridges between the booming tech sector and arts communities as a way to cross-pollinate and create new opportunities.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I am a spoken word poet, painter, and the founder of Victorious Voices Youth Arts Festival. I am a CRD Arts Commissioner, Greater Victoria Public Library Trustee, and I was the co-chair of the Create Victoria Arts and Culture Masterplan advisory committee. Before I was on Council, I successfully advocated for the creation of the City of Victoria's Youth Poet Laureate program, the first of its kind in Canada. I am also a fan and supporter of the arts.
If you'd like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture, and heritage issues in your community, please use the space below.
If you're interested, here's a spoken word video which I co-created which showcases a few aspects of Victoria's special arts, tech, and cultural scenes: https://vimeo.com/121326803