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?
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 would, because I think that the arts are chronically underfunded and too often the first thing on the chopping block. A vibrant and diverse art community and portfolio is vital to our understanding of ourselves, our society and heritage, and the world we live in. Investment in art and culture pays untold dividends by deepening our understanding, awareness and compassion. Art is like oxygen - you cannot live without it!
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?
While education remains the purview of the province, I would advocate for increased arts education by lobbying the upper levels of government while doing whatever possible from the Mayor's office to promote city and region-wide funding, education and participation. Much like the schoolyard farming initiative I hope to implement, I would use my position as Mayor to develop and implement a grassroots approach to ensuring that art and art education (as well as food security!) are fundamental components of the curriculum.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
I would reach out to the arts community to seek input and guidance from the people and organizations or businesses that are directly involved. Too often, decisions are made from the top down by politicians and bureaucrats who think they have the answers. To me, this is both arrogant and presumptuous - no appropriate policy or funding choices can be made without better consulting the affected communities.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
I definitely would! Besides Centennial Square, there are numerous sites/facilities that the city has access to and could use as cultural space. Furthermore, there could be tax incentives and/or zoning reform that the city could use to facilitate the creation and maintenance of cultural or art spaces. Again, I would seek advice from the arts community itself to find as many solutions as possible.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
By further promoting the arts in general. As we encourage art education in schools and at the grassroots level, and develop more cultural spaces, I believe tourism will naturally increase as our reputation as a vibrant, diverse, caring and ARTISTIC community continues to grow.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
Through the above-mentioned means: by establishing art education in schools as foundational, by facilitating the development and maintenance of cultural and/or art spaces, by reaching out to the arts community for their knowledge and input, and perhaps by creating a city arts foundation... why not?!
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?
While funding is clearly integral to any discussion, I would say that the most important issue is communication. How can city leaders know what the art community needs or wants, what the vision or priorities are, without direct consultation with those involved? My first step would be to create a regional arts council and invite participation from any and all interested parties.
How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I regularly attend art and culture events, whether music, theatre, visual art - any kind of festival, performance or exhibition really, particularly those of a DIY or underground nature as they are motivated purely by the love of creation and the desire to share. Antimatter, the Victoria Film Fest, Rifflandia are but a few examples of events created by and for our neighbors and guests out of love and respect for the form - the art form. Additionally, I was involved in the creation of Camas Books & Info Shop and did a weekly volunteer shift for 5 years, I was on the board of the Victoria Event Centre at the time it was seeking to become a more viable artistic and cultural venue, and most fun of all, I drove the set of Victoria's own hit musical, Ride the Cyclone (created right here by my friends from Atomic Vaudeville) across the country on 3 separate tours. As a result of getting the show to Toronto and reviewed in the Globe & Mail, it was picked up by a US producer and has seen life in Seattle, Chicago and off-Broadway, with Atlanta next.
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.
What more can I say but I love this city, it's people and its art and culture... As your mayor, I can only hope to foster a more welcoming, encouraging and supportive environment. Thanks for your time and consideration.