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 do not know the monetary investment of our local government into the arts. However, I Identify the value of the importance for communities to embrace arts, culture and heritage. Multicultural, and all that it encompasses, is a Canadian value. Diversity makes an educated and insightful community. These attributes enrich the cultural fabric of community by introducing new foods, music, traditions, beliefs and interests. I believe in the importance of arts, culture and heritage. I will be voting yes to the proposed new arts and cultural centre on Oct 20th. I would comit to learning more about the City of Vernon’s investment into the arts. To add to this, I use the words of Carl Sagan “You have to know the past to understand the present.”
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 am personally invested, as I have seen the benefits for myself, my wife and many of my family members who have been enriched by our experiences of various expressions of the arts and culture. I would champion awareness and 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 agree, there are many benefits for children who are exposed to the arts and culture from an early age. It provides children with identity, ways of expression, a role and belonging. It is not hard to find studies that provide evidence of the impact of learning to appreciate art and engaging in the expression arts activities; visual arts, music, and theatre to name a few. It helps children to learn creative problem-solving skills and the development of motor skills, along with connection to community. In addition, art boosts self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment. These benefits lead to autonomy and confidence in our youth which leads to higher learning and stronger citizens. In the work I do, I see the importance of the listed benefits to helping prevent homelessness. I will do all that I can to promote the arts in our community, especially when it comes to our youth. I am especially interested in making the arts available to families in low income situations.
How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?
Advocacy and bringing awareness.
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?
I can bring awareness to the need and promote it amongst my peers and the general public. Also, I can support and promote programs that are already in place such as; .Caetani Centres’ creative residences, programs and workshops. On Oct 20th I will be voting in favor of the new arts and cultural center.
How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?
Though my family has benefited from participating in the arts I am not currently proficient in the area. I propose as a starting point to expand on my knowledge base.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
By striving to make Vernon and arts programs more affordable; housing, grants. Once our new arts and cultural centre is approved and developed it will play a significant roll in both recruitment and retention.
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?
Lack of affordability, especially for low income families. I will continue to work towards bringing affordable and accessible housing options to Vernon.
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 had the great joy of attending live theatre with my wife at the Power House theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre and The Performing Arts theatre whenever possible. I have attended a number of the Performing Arts Centre's Annual General meetings. To add to this, I am personally invested in the arts as my step daughter dedicated 11 years to ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop at the Okanagan School of Ballet. She also took piano lessons up to grade 3 and participated in many recitals and public events. My daughter participated in singing lessons at the Vernon community music school. These experiences for my daughters equipped them to take into their careers and education which has led to many successes that I am incredibly proud. My cousins Kimberly Van Wensem has long been a music instructor at the Vernon Community Music School and Brian Van Wensem has served as an Audience Development Officer at the Performing Arts Centre. As you can see I am personally invested in the arts and have seen the positive benefits, first hand, in the lives of my family.
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.
I believe that the arts and culture provide the community and its individuals with autonomy, individual expression, a sense of belonging to community, and health and wellbeing in society. These benefits have a more measurable impact on our economy. Strong individuals, strong families lead to strong communities.