Lee Rankin

Name

Lee Rankin

Jurisdiction

Burnaby

Running for

City/Town Council

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?

I support increased funding for the arts in Burnaby. There are two major deficiencies in arts funding in Burnaby. The first is there is an urgent need for a new city art gallery. Burnaby Art Gallery has operated from Ceperley House since 1967. The heritage building has inadequate space to display exhibits and host events. Secondly, there is a need for performing arts space in Metrotown, Burnaby's downtown. Land was set aside for a performing arts venue east of the Metrotown library, but there has been no commitment to plan for a performing arts facility. Performance artists continue to use the old and inadequate James Cowan theater.

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 hold an undergraduate degree (B.A.) Honors in Literature. I wrote theater and music reviews for the university newspaper while I attended S.F.U. I have been a past season ticket holder at the Vancouver Playhouse and Freddy Wood theater. I have strongly supported the artistic community during 22 years of council service (from 1983 to 1999 and from 2002 to 2008). I voted for the construction of the Shadboldt Centre for the Arts and I supported arts and culture funding and grants. I support the design and construction of a new Burnaby Art Gallery and a performing arts center in Metrotown.

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?

I am the parent of a Burnaby student who we enrolled in Burnaby elementary summer school theater at Marlborough school. He was also enrolled in arts programs at the Shadboldt Center for the Arts. I strongly support arts as a component of early education and I will support school board candidates who support the arts in schools.

Cultural Growth

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

Burnaby is an increasingly diverse community. As a city councilor, I will advocate greater city resources to encouraging and developing the cultural and artistic traditions from our ethnically diverse communities. I will advocate increased funding for the various artistic forms that can be featured in civic spaces. Money collected from city developers can be used to create more art in public spaces and we should plan for a modern performing arts center in Metrotown.

Cultural Spaces

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

As councillor, I will advocate for the continued supply of affordable performing and visual art space in Burnaby. The construction of a long overdue new art gallery in Burnaby and new performing arts space in Metrotown will increase opportunities for artists in the city.

Cultural Tourism

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

Burnaby collects millions of dollars in amenity fees from developers but there is little commitment by council to developing art and sculpture in public space. I will advocate a serious commitment to providing opportunities creating art and sculpture in public spaces throughout Burnaby, particularly in our four town centre - Metrotown, Brentwood, Lougheed and Edmonds. Burnaby is maturing as a city and increased art and sculpture in public spaces would enhance the sophistication and aesthetic environment of the city.

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

As councillor, I will advocate the planning, design and construction of a new art gallery for Burnaby and a new performing arts facility in Metrotown. The development of new visual and performing arts facilities in Burnaby will encourage the artistic community in the city and provide opportunities for regional performances and exhibits.

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?

There has been no commitment by council to build a new art gallery in Burnaby. As a Burnaby councillor, I will urge an immediate start to the planning, design and construction of a modern art gallery to replace the antiquated facility that has been in use since 1967. Burnaby has as population of almost a quarter of a million and a vibrant local artistic community. The current art gallery is completely inadequate to meet the needs of our community and the artistic community.

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 attend arts and cultural events at the Shadboldt Centre for the Arts and I have attended art exhibits hosted by the Burnaby Art Gallery. We have attended many ethnically-inspired music and dance festivals in Burnaby. My wife and I have participated in the artistic endeavors of our son who attends public school in Burnaby.

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.

There is currently absolutely no commitment by the city council to build a new art gallery or a Metrotown performing arts center in Burnaby. A new art gallery for Burnaby is long overdue. If elected councillor on October 20th, I will advocate for the immediate start of work of replacing the current art gallery in Burnaby and I will advocate planning for a performing arts centre in Metrotown.