District of 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?
I think, as a municipality, we should always be looking to invest more in arts, culture, and heritage. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for arts organizations to survive, and I believe strongly that we should be supporting them at the local level wherever possible.
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 absolutely be a champion for the arts, on behalf of the District of North Vancouver. For me, music has been both a passion and an outlet my whole life. As a member of Chor Leoni Men's Choir (since 2003) I have been closely involved in our community outreach programs - MYVOICE and PROMYS (Program for Mentoring Young Singers), both of which have the goal of getting more young men involved in singing. I believe that the more children who are exposed to the arts at a young age, the better world we will have, and that starts in our community.
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?
There is no question that children who are engaged with the arts in school will do better in life - I firmly believe that. My high school music teacher was one of my earliest mentors in life and she inspired me to study music at the University level (I completed by Bachelor of Music from UBC in 2007). I think I could help bring some attention to our arts programs in North Vancouver by being a voice for the arts on Council and helping to be a bridge between the school and the community. I would like to see the arts programs recognized in the same way we recognize sports teams and athletic achievements in the community.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
I am not currently on Council, so I do not have the intimate knowledge on our municipality's current investment in the arts in North Vancouver District, however, I will endeavor to learn more on the issue and always be available to hear from stakeholders within the arts, culture, and heritage community. My goal is to be extremely accessible and available to hear from community members on key issues.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
The short answer here is - yes. As we look to replace some of the older infrastructure in our community, I will be looking to ensure we are building new facilities with our arts community in mind. As a singer, I know we have a real lack of performance spaces in our region for choirs, yet some of the best choirs in North America are right here in Metro Vancouver.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
I think we could be looking to create some community arts festivals and building on some of the well attended music performance opportunities, like the Live & Local community concert series every summer at other times of the year.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
A healthy arts community is a healthy community and subject to the same challenges. Right now, in our region, those main challenges are transportation (it's never been harder to get to, or around, the North Shore) and housing affordability. In addition, issues like childcare also play in to attracting and maintaining people to our community. I'll work to support improvements to transportation (many have been outlined by the North Shore Transportation Planning Project), work to get more rental and affordable rental housing built, and work on opening up more childcare spaces.
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?
Apart from funding of important arts related initiatives, I think getting children involved in the arts at a young age is a key issue. I'd like to see kids participating in the arts at the same level they play on a soccer team.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I'm a lifelong supporter from the arts, ever since I took a guitar lesson at the age of 5! I studied Music Education at UBC and, while my career took a different path (I work in advertising now), music is still one of my main passions. I've been an active member of Chor Leoni Men's Choir for over 15 years. I also regularly volunteer with the choir's community outreach programs and I am a volunteer with North Shore Neighbourhood House. Along with my wife, I attend as many cultural events throughout the city as possible.
A healthy community needs arts, culture, and heritage now more than ever. In a world that often feels like a dark place, the arts provides a beacon of hope!