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?
As a board trustee, arts are a primary focus. With reconfiguration arts programs have been heavily impacted due to space constraints. I absolutely believe in the critical importance of the arts in the growth and development of our students. I plan to advocate for a renewed focus on our arts programs not only within the board and our budgets, but collaborate with our community arts partners to look at partnership options to expand the potential for learning for our students.
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 I will. The education system for decades did not recognize, downplayed and even opposed education surrounding culture and heritage. The Arts have never been supported to their potential outside of specialty arts programs in specific jurisdictions, with limited access for the majority of students. We are a city rich with culture and a varied and robust history that deserves to be celebrated. Our next generations need to be empowered through this education. People hate what they fear and fear what they do not understand. This can only be changed through education. Education about culture and history breaks down barriers and makes space for students from diverse backgrounds to be represented, validated and proud. The Arts have changed one of my children's lives. An Arts school allowed them to be themselves, find a group of like-minded peers, and express their creativity, which has fostered growth and provided an anchoring in their world. All children should have access to this opportunity.
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?
Yes. First and foremost I plan to advocate for immediate return of arts programs to all students. Currently some of our students are being forced to chose between Arts and physical education. This is unacceptable and an effect of overcrowding that has shocked students and parents. Return of Arts must be a top priority. In addition I plan to advocate to create an arts-based middle-school program option in our schools for those students who seek to explore the Arts more extensively.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
Within our school board we have much cultural diversity, in particular our indigenous community. When it comes to programming however, we often see a minimim standard and lack of meaningful cultural programs. I believe a strong focus needs to be on collaboration with our local indigenous leaders to create and invest in meaningful cultural programs within our schools that includes and benefits all students.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
Yes. Much of the headway that has happened within our schools to ensure specific art spaces has been scaled back in favour of repurposing space due to overcrowding, specifically in our middle schools. One of my primary focuses is on moving forward quickly with solutions to overcrowding so we may reclaim these important spaces for our students. Beyond this, I will be focusing on liasing with our community arts partners to expand our programs and seek to create an elective arts-based school stream within our City.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
As a board trustee, this falls outside the scope of my position. Within our schools however we will continue to expand cultural events and include the public wherever appropriate.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
I believe specialist teachers are an important part of the education system. I am committed to creating a marketing plan to rehabilite the image of the Chilliwack school district and position us as a desirable employer, for all staff including specialist teachers for arts and culture.
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?
The biggest issue in our school district is that there is no focus on the arts and culture. We have some Aboriginal programs and arts but these are hardly sufficient and often recieve limited funding. My priority is to refocus the board on expanding these programs and making them accessible to all students.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I have attended events at the Cultural Arts centre. For the past 3 years I have worked with youth from a number of community organizations including the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society. I have also been involved in advocacy in the community for marginalized students from diverse backgrounds.
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.
In SD33 arts and culture have been neglected. There needs to be a newfound focus on them and I am committed to working with all partners to create a rich and vibrant educational experience for our students.