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?
We have a paltry arts budget in Surrey. I say absolutely yes to increased funding! In particular I think we could have more artists in residence throughout the city, or after school drop in arts programming for youth and others, more public art projects, and a dedicated City Department for Arts and Culture. I am committed to the city offering community art spaces and hubs, maker spaces, and open studio free access community centers for all.
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?
Arts and culture are part of the fabric of our society. The promotion of arts and culture is good for our community for so many reasons: social justice, health, connectivity, and has benefits to the local economy.
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 language teacher I have witnessed first hand reductions in funding and their effect on people and society. Schools are not offering the same kinds programming they used to. As a city councilor I would fight to have such programming available through our community centers, and other public venues. This access would be free and accessible for all. Like the Kulturhuset model in Sweden
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
As a city councilor I will connect with and take my cue from local cultural and artistic groups to develop the best programs possible for our city. I'm committed to Best Practices in all city services, so will endeavour to study and implement best practices in arts and culture.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
Cultural spaces and art organizations need stable long-term funding. In cooperation with other levels of government snd institutions I will work to attain this funding for our city. The city must provide spaces throughout the city in buildings and facilities owned by the city. This will provide more stability in long-term programming.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
Surrey is a vibrant community with local, national, and international links through our citizens. I will work with local residents to encourage cooperation across the province, the country, and the international world to make our city and our talent known to the world. I would also encourage exchange programs with other cities, regions, nations, and communities.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
Only with long-term stable fund can we expect to retain artists and cultural workers in our community. Housing is also an issue for all residents of the Lower Mainland where we currently have a 0% vacancy rate. Until the housing crisis has been dealt with, housing will be an issue for all of those of us who are not in a position to own property. Positions could come with the housing option. This is done in other communities, where you have an artist-in-residence for example. I am also very active defending our current rental stock.
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?
In the city of Surrey arts is seen as something that happens once in a while, a special event. I would like us to integrate art into our everyday lives, and have people participating in artistic and cultural expressions throughout their day, week, life... for this reason I would like to promote spaces and places where people can learn about and practice their arts and cultural expressions without concern for expense.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I do guerilla art. I take in a lot of international cinema, and I practice a variety of arts and crafts. I have studied sevillana, flamenco and modern latin dancing. I speak five languages, and enjoy reading in all of them. I'm interested in the intersection between arts, culture, and life. A great aficionado of Wade Davis's work.
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.
I worked as an assistant to curator at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, and studied Fine Arts at the University of Ottawa.