Nils Jensen

Name

Nils Jensen

Jurisdiction

Oak Bay

Running for

Mayor

Party or Slate (if applicable)

N/A

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?

Arts are fundamental to the health and happiness of a community as well as being good for the economy.

Oak Bay has been a significant contributor to the arts through its ownership of the Royal, as a full member of the CRD Arts Service and its $1 million contribution to build the Dave Dunnett Community Theatre at Oak Bay High School.

I appointed Canada's first Arts Laureate Barbara Adams who has created the very popular ArtsAlive Program which in turn has led to Oak Bay's purchase of seven amazing works of public art. Our Arts Laureate also puts on the equally popular Painted Pianos summer program.

Oak Bay holds a yearly Arts and Culture Fortnight which features music in the parks and the Bowker Creek Brush Up.

Recently we developed a partnership with the Oak Bay-based Canadian College for the Performing Arts to put on a Remembrance ceremony.

Oak Bay is truly the Arts Capital of the Capital!

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?

I am and will continue to be a champion of the arts on all fronts - because as noted above arts are fundamental to the health and happiness of a community as well as being good for the economy.

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?

Formal education of students is not within the mandate of a municipality - it is the responsibility of the local school board. HOWEVER through our recreation department we offer an wide variety of exciting art based courses for all ages, throughout the year.

Cultural Growth

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

I have pledged to advocate for increased funding of our ArtsAlive program. I will continue to build our our existing partnerships with the CRD, CCPA and local artist groups.

Cultural Spaces

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

That is a challenge in Oak Bay given very limited space in public buildings and availability of public lands. HOWEVER we are in the very early stages of creating a Carnarvon Park plan which could incorporate art space - that has yet to be determined.

Cultural Tourism

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

Our ArtsAlive program and Painted Pianos have been a huge attraction. In addition our Arts and Culture Fortnight has a summer music component that draws many from across the CRD

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

Most of our 'cultural workers' are employed either through the CCPA or our recreation department. Both are sustainable organizations that will continue to attract artists and workers.

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?

Funding.

Our support for the arts is generally funded out of taxes and fees for our art programs. We have been fortunate to have the support of our business community for the ArtsAlive program. These kinds of partnerships are essential to economic sustainability of our art programs.

Participation

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

My wife and I frequently attend the Victoria Youth Orchestra and Opera Victoria and from time to time the Belfry and the Victoria Symphony. I attend the local artists tour put on several times a year.

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.

Heritage is centrally important to maintaining Oak Bay's unique character.

Below is an extract of an editorial I recently submitted to the Oak Bay News:

"Central to the pleasure of living in beautiful Oak Bay is our municipality’s rich heritage, expressed in the diversity of its people, its fascinating history and its wonderful heritage homes.

Our municipality’s heritage is more than bricks and mortar. It is a compelling story of the architects who built our historic homes and the owners who lived their lives in them. Our historic homes are our link to where we came from, who we once were and what we cherish from our past. As Mayor, I support and encourage projects like the one recently undertaken by Robert Taylor and Janet Morningstar of St. Patrick Street, documenting the historic homes in their neighbourhood with valuable photographs and information about former residents. Projects like this provide us with a deeper understanding of our neighbourhoods, a connection with the past and sense of belonging going forward."