Rob McDowell

Name

Rob McDowell

Jurisdiction (Please indicate your municipality, regional district, or trust area)

Vancouver

Running for

City/Town Council

Party or Slate (if applicable)

Independent

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?

$12m+. I would advocate for additional spending on the arts. I believe it is a solid investment and pays healthy dividends in so many ways: addressing livability, minimizing loneliness, boosting tourism, and adding to the well-being of our residents.

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 will take an active role and advocate for the arts in Vancouver. Having served on the boards of a variety of arts organizations, I know how great the need for support is. From festival funding to facility needs to promotional support and in many other ways, the city can do more.

Cultural Growth

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

Supporting success, fostering new upstarts and ensuring innovation: we can work to celebrate our global success stories in a better way: in dance, music, fashion, and other spheres, we have global players that are not well known at home. We need to celebrate their success, and ensure that new upstarts can flourish. We also need to help nurture innovation in the arts by following global best practices.

Cultural Spaces

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

I would champion the use of Community Amenity Contributions (CAC's) to ensure that we have the infrastructure we need throughout our city. New developments should have a cultural component to them. As well as performance and work spaces, we need to ensure that arts organisations and their necessary infrastructure can survive and are protected from the pressures of increasing land costs in Vancouver.

Cultural Tourism

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

The funding of festivals should be strategically increased. There may be opportunities to provide synergies with some festival spaces, especially with staging and setup costs. I would champion stronger ties between Tourism Vancouver and specific festivals, to build their profiles regionally and internationally.

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

Even the most vibrant and well promoted cultural milieu will be challenged by the dearth of affordable homes. We need to get our housing market under control and seek ways to be more permissive of artist live work opportunities

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?

Affordability - it is becoming very challenging for artists to live, work and perform in this city. We need to encourage artists and cultural workers to live and work here or they will move to cities where they are more welcome. This is crucial.

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 have served on the board of the ScotiaBank Dance Centre, the Comedy Festival, and Radical Systems Arts Society. I have also helped organizations like Kidd Pivot Dance company on tour, and worked to bring the National Ballet of Cuba to Vancouver a few years ago.

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.

We are at a tipping point in the arts community in Vancouver. We need to ensure that arts and cultural workers are valued and have a place here, or we risk losing them to other cities where they might find life easier. Arts, culture and heritage are very important to Vancouver and its residents. Without them, we would be a soulless city. Our city's heritage provides an anchor to our past, so that we can move successfully into the future. Our arts and cultural workers give us a reason to celebrate Vancouver and share with the world who we are.