Here are my answers to a series of questions on arts and culture from the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan
1. If you had questions regarding arts and culture in our community which organization(s) would you go to for input and expertise?
For general questions, I would definitely contact ARTSCO, because of your representation of so many different artists and organizations. I also have a good relationship with a number of arts and culture groups in our community, so if I had a specific question I would approach any one of them.
2. It has been said that “Culture” is the soul of a community. What does Culture mean to you and which cultural events do you attend?
Culture is the expression of ourselves as human beings and can take a number of different forms. We can benefit from participating in the arts both as active participants and consumers. I attend all types of events – amateur and professional, visual and performing, and have even recently been an active participant in bronze casting and acrylic painting thanks to some very patient teachers. I love that Kelowna offers so much variety at all different price points so there is an inclusiveness for all tastes and financial abilities.
3. On a scale of one to ten please designate the significance you personally place on the arts and culture in your community (#1 signifying “completely irrelevant to me” to #10 signifying “almost as important as the air I breath”).
Ten! That is why I have supported the recent Cultural Plan for Kelowna which I believe will strengthen Kelowna’s cultural community for the benefit of all our citizens.
4. Do you understand and support the economic impact in our community which is generated solely from local arts organizations?
Yes. Arts as an economic generator has been widely documented and is no different in our community.
5. Do you feel using municipal tax revenues are a worthwhile investment to make on supporting established local arts organizations?
Yes. I support the use of municipal funds for local arts organizations. I am especially pleased with the relationship that has been developed with the professional arts organizations during my time on council which allows for more security in their budget process.
6. Do you support maintaining, decreasing, or increasing the current levels of municipal investment, and why?
For this budget year I support maintaining the current level of municipal investment. As the economy improves I would like to see an increase, especially for projects or programming that include youth. I also support continued federal and provincial funding and have, and will continue, to lobby to ensure that happens.
7. Do you support using city funds as “rescue” packages, loans, bridge financing for troubled organizations as has been done in past?
Yes. There are examples from the city’s past where this has worked very well. Occasionally things don’t work out and a loan needs to be forgiven, as in the recent case of Sunshine Theatre. But if the city stopped helping all together I’m afraid we would be much poorer culturally.
8. Are you in favour of efforts to keep our arts organizations in the downtown core?
Would you support the inclusion of a new arts facility as apart of the comprehensive future downtown redevelopment plan?
I think it is healthy for arts organizations to be in close proximity to each other so they can work together creatively. The cultural district in downtown Kelowna is working well and will continue to get better as more residential density occurs.
I’m not certain what type of new arts facility you are referring to, but would be happy to sit down and discuss this as part of a long term visioning and financing plan.
9. What are your feelings regarding local Art Festivals or Arts Events and the inclusion of a local component. Should a local component be a mandatory requirement?
As far as I am aware, the existing local Art Festivals and Events do include local components, and some are purely local content! We have a tremendous amount of talent here. I don’t see a need to have mandatory requirements as this seems to be regulating itself. If I am mistaken, please contact me to discuss further.
10. If you are elected as a Council Member for your municipality, are you prepared to remain accountable to our local arts organizations to which you have referred to with this survey?
I will continue to remain accountable to local arts organizations and individuals by continuing to meet whoever would like to discuss any issue, just as I have for the past six years. Thank you for your support.