Harold Steves

Name

Harold Steves

Jurisdiction

Richmond

Running for

City/Town Council

Party or Slate (if applicable)

Richmond Citizens (RCA)

Funding

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?

I am long time chair of Parks, Recreation and Culture in Richmond. I always advocate for funds for arts, culture and heritage.

Advocacy

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, culture and heritage are an important fabric of our community. I always take an active roll in championing them. I initiated the development of the Britannia Heritage Shipyard National Historic Site and Museum in Richmond. I also made a presentation to the BC Parks and Recreation Association circa 1970 and initiated the first trail system in BC. Our trails link our historic, cultural and ecological sites.

Education

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?

We promote children and the arts at our community centres, heritage sites, festivals and resident artist and writers programme.

Cultural Growth

How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?

We initially developed joint community facilities with our high schools. Now we are developing facilities at every transit centre in Downtown Richmond.

Cultural Spaces

Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?

We are just completing construction of a major swimming pool, seniors centre and recreation complex. We are intending to use the old Minoru Seniors Centre for facilities for the arts. We are also investing $11 million for restoration of the Gillnet Loft building at Britannia Shipyard for an arts and cultural activity centre. When we restore the First Nations Longhouse at Britannia we will have a tremendous opportunity for First Nations art.

Cultural Tourism

How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?

We are developing the Britannia Shipyard complex, Steveston Museum, London Farm and Parks Canada's Gulf of Georgia Cannery as a major heritage, arts and culture tourist destination for BC. At the same time we are promoting Asian culture in our downtown Aberdeen Mall area.

How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?

We have developed an artists and writers in residence programme and new artists live work facilities. Our waterfront historic site area is a mecca for artists.

Key Issues

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?

We need to bring our mixed cultures together. Richmond Council has considered establishing rotating museum displays in our community centres. We need to consider that idea again and include the arts to make them more accessible to more people. Richmond has always been a multi-cultural community. When Richmond was young we had equal numbers of First Nations, Asian and Caucasian residents. We need to build cultural harmony by telling their story with arts and artifacts, both new and old.

Participation

How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)

As Chair of Parks, Recreation and Culture I assist with the annual arts awards. I am an active director on the Britannia Heritage Shipyard Society Board. We are presently restoring our 100 year old farm house and have it open to the public from time to time as a museum and art gallery with paintings by George Lam and other Steveston artists. We open our farm every summer to painting by Richmond's "Plein Air Painters" group and their work was recently displayed at the Richmond Gateway Theatre.

Additional Information

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 am a former teacher with a BSc in Agro-ecology and a postgraduate certificate in Secondary Science and Art Education. One of my mentors was Sir Herbert Read who saw "Art as Education" I applied that to science education with music as my former students will recall. Initially I taught 50% science and 50% art, and later became a music teacher. Before becoming a teacher I worked for a year at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I have performed on the stage of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and played guitar and sang at restaurants in Vancouver.

I see my role in support of the arts in the city similar to my former role in education. I believe that art should be an integral part of the community. Art should have meaning, whether it is telling a story, presenting an idea, or preserving the past. Art should bring out the best from our local artists. Art should be part of everything we do.