School District #44: North Vancouver
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?
Yes. Calculating the funding investment in arts, culture, and heritage by a school district presents a challenge, as it would be difficult to define what qualifies. I recognize and commend the acclaimed Artists for Kids program that SD44 operates, and support its growth and expansion to offer more programming and include more disciplines. However in my experience as a student and as a volunteer leading an arts program in the district, I believe arts are generally underfunded. I have been an advocate for increased cultural investments since I was a student at Westview Elementary and Carson Graham Secondary, and have built a career in the arts since then. I will continue to advocate passionately if elected Trustee.
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 am a lifelong champion of arts & culture, and am acutely aware of the impact they make on young people through education. I have been performing improvisational theatre since I was 13 at Carson Graham Secondary, and have spent the last ten years teaching and producing their improvisational theatre program in the City of North Vancouver. In that time I have also written, directed, performed, and produced: spoken word poetry, stand up comedy, art exhibitions, plays, and film. Setting aside the economic return on dollars invested in culture industries, arts education has become increasingly pragmatic when considering the economy our children will be entering in the future. Automation and artificial intelligence are rapidly evolving the labour market, and arts education will equip students with the creativity and emotional intelligence they will need.
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. I believe the Artists for Kids program presents an excellent opportunity to build on existing cultural infrastructure. Our district has been a leader with this program, and I'd like to see its growth and expansion.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
I would like to explore more collaboration with partner arts & culture organizations, the municipalities, and our local post-secondary Capilano University to see how we can engage our students with arts & culture in the wider community.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
Yes. Prioritizing student and school-based artists and arts organizations, I believe our district's cultural spaces should be accessible and affordable to encourage engagement with arts & culture. Cultural spaces are in short supply across the region, and our spaces represent an important, publicly funded, part of that supply.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
Investing in our programming and spaces, while working with community partners.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
We face a general challenge with attracting and retaining employees in our community due to the cost of living. To address this I will be advocating to our partners in local, provincial, and federal government for increased affordability in North Vancouver.
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?
Integrated indigenous education is a key element of the new BC education curriculum. Arts, culture, and heritage in our community must be inclusive of indigenous peoples, and our board should continue working with the Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh first nations to reflect this in the programs we offer.
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 been attending, producing, and participating in cultural events in North Vancouver all my life. I've ran the improv program at Carson Graham for ten seasons, worked at Presentation House Theatre, and sat on the City's Social Planning Advisory Committee.
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'm always happy to talk arts & culture, but for a very different candidate experience I welcome you to come see me perform! I play in the mainstage ensemble at Vancouver TheatreSports, and you can find when I'm playing next through their website. Disclaimer: opinions expressed on stage are a character's, not my own.