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 long-time member of Victoria City Council I have consistently advocated, and been supported, in increasing investment in arts, culture and heritage.
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?
This is something that I have done consistently since being elected to Council. Not only is it important in terms of the human condition and the human spirit but, as I always maintain, it makes good sense in terms of economic impact.
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?
As A city Councillor the role that I can play is ensuring access for children to cultural events. The City of Victoria has a very robust program of free performances in all disciplines.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
The completion of 'Create Victoria' our arts and culture master plan, which I co-chaired, has provided a firm foundation for moving forward in increasing support for cultural programs in the city.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
I brought forward an initiative to have the historic Provincial Courthouse, located in Bastion Square, repurposed into a 28,000 square foot Arts Hub. Additionally I brought forward an initiative to have working artists identified as a group to be included in the City's housing strategy with the aim of having artist live/work spaces included in new development.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
Cultural tourism in Victoria has often been related to the city's rich inventory of heritage buildings. The current development boom creates a risk for the survival of these buildings and this is an area where I work on constantly in terms of communicating the value of our architectural heritage and taking steps to encourage its preservation/rehabilitation/repurposing. I have also encouraged Tourism Victoria to place more of a marketing focus on the performing and visual arts experiences that are available in Victoria.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
Ensuring that we have affordable housing options and artist live/work options. Without these initiative I fear we will become what San Francisco has been described as: "A city where you can buy art but you can't make art'.
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?
Victoria has a long history of being a haven for artists and performers. This was partly due to the beauty and character of the city but it was also tied to the fact that Victoria was an affordable city to live in. This is not longer the case and Council will have to continually, and consistently, work to ensure that affordable housing options remain a top priority.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I co-chaired 'Creat Victoria' which developed the City's Arts & Culture Master Plan. I have been liaison to the Art in Public Places Committee and a member of the CRD Arts Committee. Board member of the Royal McPherson Theatres Society where I was Chair of Facilities and oversaw significant physical improvement to both of our historic theatres. Liaison to the Heritage Advisory Committee, the Victoria Heritage Foundation and the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust. I regularly attend the theatre, concerts and in particular, the work of emerging artists in all disciplines.
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.
Just to say that these are the areas that initially drew me to seek elected office and they have continued to provide me with the passion necessary to keep working on improving the opportunities for, and recognition of, the importance of arts, culture and heritage.