School District #33: Chilliwack
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?
I don’t know the exact figures, but I do know that it is not enough. I believe that art is an essential part of society, and as a former art teacher, I believe every child deserves quality art education (including visual arts, music and drama). I would like to see more theatre performances brought into our schools.
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 believe that art is absolutely essential to a well-rounded education. I will advocate for the hiring of music specialists for elementary schools and for the reinstatement of art specialists at the middle schools.
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?
Absolutely. Every child should have the opportunity to study music, and I would like to see a music teacher in every elementary school. I also. Would like visual arts to be taught in a way that promotes creativity and self-expression. Cut and paste activities that encourage students to exactly replicate the teacher’s example are not art!
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
Chilliwack schools should encourage partnerships with local artists, especially indigenous artists. Kids need exposure to the arts and to learn about the artistic traditions in our community.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
Some of our schools have theatre spaces, and these should be used as a way to provide avoidable rentals to theatre groups that may not be able to afford the costs of renting our Cultural Centre.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
This is not really the role of a school trustee, but we could certainly encourage our schools to partake in more field trips to local performances and galleries.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
There have been some very successful programs in local schools where artists are paid to come in and do a project with students. We have mosaics, murals and paintings all done in this way in our district. I would like to see this continued and expanded.
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 terms of school issues, the biggest concern right now is the elimination of art and drama teachers at the middle school level. The current board has decided that all middle school teachers need to be generalists, so the art teachers are being asked to teach Math, Science, Language Arts, etc. instead of focussing on their true area of expertise and passion. This needs to be corrected immediately.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I attend plays occasionally, go to art gallery shows, and go to the Cottonwood 4 Film Series twice a year. I am also an artist and created the Literary Owl Little Free Library with a mural on it as a piece of public art.