Michael Wolfe

Name

Michael Wolfe

Jurisdiction

Richmond

Running for

City/Town Council

Party or Slate (if applicable)

RITE Richmond

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'm unclear of the entire detailed arts budget, but yes I'd support increased investment in a variety of areas.

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?

Yes, because it will strengthen our community identity and contribute to a diversified economy. Currently major art funding is tied within development charges and is managed by develop interests. We need a new model and a vote for Wolfe will provide leadership to ensure arts funding benefits our wider population.

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?

As a teacher, I work closely with art educators in Richmond and I hear from their students how much art classes can positively impact them. I support further options for art programs in our Richmond School District and local post-secondary schools. I will also work to expand art production spaces in the city, with the use of Neighbourhood Houses, to increase affordability and accessibility to our local artists.

Cultural Growth

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

We need urgent action to protect our culturally significant businesses by reducing the high tax barriers and incentivize local small businesses into rezoning packages.

Cultural Spaces

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

Yes, I will make it a priority to regain the decision-making for local projects and spaces with the help of the Richmond Arts Coalition and the Public Art Advisory Committee

Cultural Tourism

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

The profile of Richmond has a child of the Fraser and an island city, by nature are central to my views of cultural tourism. Through increased education to all ages we must rekindle the sense of pride that people had when we had less distractions (e.g. screen-time) and value the authentic experiences and exceptional views that we can have just steps from home. I will model that pride from the council chambers to the dyke trail.

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

We need affordable housing options and that will require many steps, including the removal of real estate developers from city council. It is the work of a few, who have allowed mega-mansions of farmland, and massive vacant houses in our neighbourhoods. We need to address speculation if we are to retain some of Richmond's most talented artists and those who might go unnoticed as a result of struggling to make ends meet.

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 do neighbourhood planning with the neighbours. I will meet directly with affected residents before, during, and after land-use changes and development permit projects, to witness the changes and provide leadership by immediately making motions to address the situation. I will do all that I can to bring better communication between our staff and residents; this includes creating a Youth Commission to provide youth-informed public policy.

Participation

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

I've been a long-time member of the Richmond Nature Park Society, Garden City Conservation Society, and Richmond Health Advisory Committee. I have taken my students on fieldtrips to the Richmond Art Museum and invited artists into my classroom to collaborate on projects. I've use the cultural centre facilities to host public events, and I am an advocate for the realizing the beauty that exists in nature all around our urban environment.

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 grounded by my students and empowered to be a lifelong learner. I will do all that I can to bring better communication between our staff and residents; this includes creating a Youth Commission to provide youth-informed public policy. Since birth I've lived in the house my great-grandparents built and I value heritage more then most. I'm proud of Richmond's multicultural diversity and will continue to provide a voice for the marginalized and "too-young-to-vote" in our community.