ProArt distributed a survey to Candidates campaigning in the 2014 Municipal Elections asking them to respond to the following questions. Replies are posted below.
Candidate for: Mayor or Councillor
1. What is your previous experience with the Arts?
2. Will you support increased investment in the Arts? And if so, how?
3. What does your campaign propose for the future of the Arts in the CRD?
Responses (Listed by Municipality)
District of Central Saanich
City of Colwood
Township of Esquimalt
District of Highlands
City of Langford
District of Metchosin
District of North Saanich
District of Oak Bay
District of Saanich
Town of Sidney
District of Sooke
City of Victoria
Town of View Royal
District of Central Saanich
Alicia Cormier, District of Central Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. Jr. High and High school drama student, Grassroots member at Parkland, dabbled in writing, pottery, fabric art; have attended and appreciated a variety of art offerings throughout the Peninsula and the CRD for all of my life.
2. I view support for the arts as an investment in our community and will do my best to seek support at the Council table for local and regional initiatives, as well I would seek to refer the item to our new Economic Development Committee for its consideration.
3. Greater involvement/support by and in Central Saanich; see the need to start small and build from there.
Niall Paltiel, District of Central Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have been a patron of the arts for my entire life. I bought my first canvas painting in grade 12 at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. It is of a double shell (the same I was racing in St. Catherines) and I still have it. Since purchasing this one significant piece, my collection has grown and I continue to appreciate the arts through engaging or donating. My partner Emerald is also heavily involved in the arts. She is finishing her Masters in Art History at Queens while working for Legacy Art Collections. She challenges me every day to consider the impact of art in our lives.
2. I will support increased investment in the arts. I already support art in Central Saanich by purchasing local art, attending the music in the park in Brentwood, visiting Heritage Acres, and by engaging with local artists. Canadian Art Magazine notes that there are more career artists than automotive workers in Canada. This is a cultural workforce that needs to be supported and our municipality should do its part. I know of many artists in Central Saanich and learn about more every day.
3. Central Saanich does not pay a red cent into the CRD arts fund. If elected I will assess the budget and advocate for a contribution. I will also support art on a direct level through initiatives such as music in the park, the Peninsula Country Market and Saanich Fair and by working with galleries to across the CRD to showcase local talent. Finally, the Central Saanich Historical Artifacts Society at Heritage Acres holds a great deal of untapped potential. This property could be a landmark on Vancouver Island and I look forward to unlocking this potential.
Christopher Graham, District of Central Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I really enjoyed making art back in high school, especially pottery. I have a small art gallery at my Accounting Office….with about dozen paintings for sale, and my spouse is an avid painter.
2. While on council I supported investments in the arts, such as music in the park, and the Brentwood Bay village entry sign. I am also very supportive of the Saanichton Village totems. I would support commissioning public art as a part of new developments. Also the municipality can play more of a role coordinating Federal and Provincial grants with local artists.
3. During the budget process, I am open to looking at Central Saanich’s participation in the CRD Art requisition. I am also open to considering art funding proposals as they come forward through our grant in aid process.
City of Colwood
Steven Huneck, City of Colwood, Candidate for Councillor
1. I enjoy them very much and believe them to be the most important accomplishment of our species.
2. Yes I will, but it has to be done in a way so that the tax payer sees a return on their investment. At this point I do not know how that can be accomplished. I am open to suggestions and would love to see it happen.
3. Previous to this survey I have not given it much thought, so I do not have any proposals in my incredibly lame campaign. However, again, I am open to suggestions.
Robin Stanbridge, City of Colwood, Candidate for Mayor
1. Thanks for sharing the research, and truly, what pitifully low numbers, indeed. I have exhibited internationally and was raised in a family of internationally exhibiting artists. I have been a recipient of fellowships and national and regional awards, and served on the board at Open Space, incidentally, where I curated an exhibit for Luis Jacob. I hold a BFA from Emily Carr where I studied with Ian Wallace. I am plainly no stranger to the arts (by the usual definition of stranger). I worry about not merely the impacts of a lack of arts discourse in our city, but beyond that, the even more ominous effects of a lack of public discourse and knowledge of the humanities. I contributed as an editor to a formal logic textbook now used in universities throughout the world, and participated in drafting history research that formed the foundation of an SSHRC grant. As an artist I noticed the absurd disproportionate funding of sports over the arts, but I must ask; “Are philosophy and history funded as fairly as the arts?” Do the humanities factor into our society as deeply as they need to? Is our municipal support sufficient for including the nonfiction portion of humanities as an important part of our civilisation, now that university funding has been sliding sideways for decades? What loss is there to democracy and society by failing to fund venues for collective consideration of history or philosophy? How might we reconcile the lack of recreational engagement in these areas as citizens with the need for more funding to arts? As I recall all too frequently decades prior, the venue for philosophy in Victoria is a table at Spinnakers where i found myself dragged to with all the philosophy profs to get sloshed. Is there more money spent supporting the philosophical musings of artists than of philosophers? I fear the answer is yes, and our civilisation looks it. If the full force of the humanities in society are to be reduced to the format of a book, why shouldn’t the arts? I fully support the arts, but I want to know from you how the arts can help accommodate the inclusions of sectors of our academic world whose near total absence in our society is a severe and dangerous issue. As accounting for tastes in the arts go, I enjoy every visual manipulation of the human form’s expressivity from Les Twins to Nina Kaptsova, and all polyphony from contemporary musings of Aphex Twin to the baroque works of Purcell. Victoria ought to become a destination for international tours of exceptional international performers and artists because the performer is excited to visit. I would like to see a portion of the direct democracy forum represent our collective interest in performers and artists – whereby their agents could probe to evaluate the legitemacy of including our city in tours. For more information on my proposal for accountable direct democracy, please visit my facebook page “robin stanbridge” politician… Here is a link …
2. Yes, absolutely, and especially the humanities. I believe the benefits of contemplation of the arts and humanities upon the mind are as immense as they are lacking in our civilisation, and should be enjoyed by all people in our region far more directly. I am not interested, however, in building or attending more vacuously adorned exhibition spaces. Instead, I am interested in building arts centres that function much the way recreation centres function, proximal to which performance exhibition spaces may exist for short duration sharing of ideas from any field of legitimate inquiry whatsoever. As soon as a measure of time passes with less than a large quota of new visitors, the exhibition ought to be removed so the space can continue to be used meaningfully. I am interested in building, in effect, short-duration publicly accessible studios where any person of any stature can purchase affordable memberships and make things using tools and space most people lack. In this space people may make anything at all, a young punk might find herself making prototypes of technologies she is developing, next to a senior engaging in art therapy using watercolors, and they might just hit it off and learn something from one another. This would be a space to enable all people to engage in the mind-expanding problem-solving intrinsic to creation. An adjacent exhibition hall would be a space where people could meet to make presentations, conduct performances engage in symposia, discuss ideas collectively etc. By people becoming familiar with making things, we enjoy the spinoff in increased collective appreciation of things that are made by others – be they audible or visual performances, ideas or objects. Where a rec centre might invest in a pool and weight room, perhaps an arts centre might invest in 3d printing technology or CNC machines and advanced staging recording and lighting systems. I also wish to provide free facility rental to nonprofit societies, and am proposing that the public be able to purchase a ‘spectator status’ pass to all such societies that use the space, so as to watch the proceedings of these societies, as they often bring in interesting specialists from all over the world, but lack attendance on matters of profound interest to our future which deserve more appreciation and exposure.
3. We spend far too much to watch people in sports exhibit the finest detail of limits of human competitive physiology, and far too little exploring the limits of knowledge and creativity. Victoria is already Canada’s hub for athletics, as is reflected in this one area where our university is growing, and if we build something to celebrate other intellectual pursuits lacking support in our society, we can be the hub for everything valuable that is being underfunded by the university, as well. However, I firmly believe these areas must become more accessible to serendipitous discovery than they have been in the past, and a lot of this issue is addressable by means of centralizing venues.
I am proposing building such a centre atop an array of anaerobic digesters on either the grounds of city hall, or in Royal Bay. I would encourage every municipality to such arts centres. Where Langford is a growing powerhouse of industrial and business real estate and transportation infrastructure, Colwood could become an intellectual, cultural and residential powerhouse.
Township of Esquimalt
Susan Low, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Councillor
1. In addition to more than ten years of dance training (many forms), I completed a year of theatre training at UVic as part of my B.A. degree. I’ve worked both onstage and backstage in amateur theatre.
2. Yes, I support increasing investment in the Arts. I would approach this through Local Grants at the municipal level, as well as advocating for ongoing provincial investment in arts programming and facilities.
3. I’m particularly interested in seeing the arts & culture sector become an economic leader for Greater Victoria, as these activities provide local employment and attract tourism. I also will encourage and support groups that wish to use the arts as tools for social inclusion and health. I think the Township Community Arts Council in Esquimalt is showing very impressive results for their first year in operation, making the arts inclusive and accessible for our community. I’d like to see TCAC receive sustainable funding through the municipality and the CRD Arts Council.
Meagan Brame, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have sat on the CRD Arts Committee as the Esquimalt Representative for the past two years. – I have always enjoyed a variety of arts in the region.
2. I want to see a balance in art funding. I want to continue to support both the larger regional programs but also make sure that my local community has the opportunity to enjoy various art options without having to travel outside the community. Local art projects and activities support Esquimalt’s economy; bring people to our community instead of the larger communities outside Esquimalt. There is a place for groups like Ballet Victoria and Moss St Paint In, but I want to encourage and support those types of activities closer to home too. Esquimalt has a ton of talent that needs a stage, why not make it a local stage.
3. I would like to investigate the option of splitting what we pay CRD Arts – 50% to the CRD Arts and 50% to Esquimalt Arts Council.
We cannot do it all, not even locally, all at once. I would love to see our Arts council grow in a steady and sustainable manner.
Beth Burton-Krahn, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have extensive experience in the Arts. I graduated from the University of Alberta with a BFA (Acting) (Honours). I was a professional actor/improviser for 15 years in Alberta and BC. I travelled throughout Canada doing theatre for many, many years. I benefited from Arts funding in numerous ways, sometimes via grants to produce shows, sometimes the recipient of grants to travel for study; through a BC Arts grant I was privileged to spend a summer at the Royal National Theatre –Summer Theatre School in London, England. Closer to home, I toured Canada and the US with Kaleidoscope Theatre out of Victoria BC for 10 months. I have used theatre as a tool for social change, empowering the marginalized and disenfranchised to ‘tell their story’ through the use of theatre.
2. I am very frustrated at present with the current funding formula for the Arts at the CRD. If elected, I will advocate hard for a better funding model; one that will see ALL thirteen municipalities participate in regional arts funding. It is absolutely unacceptable going forward that only 5 municipalities are funding the regional Arts scene on a full-time basis.
Further to this more equitable arrangement, I will advocate that Esquimalt renegotiate the current funding agreement it has with the CRD.
Equitable distribution of financial burden is crucial within the CRD and throughout the region if we want the CRD to function properly. This current funding imbalance fosters resentment and animosity between municipalities.
IF other municipalities are NOT willing to carry their share of funding for the Arts then I would like the Township to seriously consider withdrawing from the current funding model until a more regionally equitable arrangement can be agreed upon.
IF ALL 13 municipalities agree to support regional arts then Esquimalt should continue funding a regional Arts scene. A more equitable sharing of the funding throughout the region would allow Esquimalt to hold back some of the current amount it sends to the CRD and it would allow the Township to pump money back into our own, very successful Township Community Arts Council. Arts and Culture are an enormous economic driver and to that end, fighting hard for equity down at the CRD will ensure that no one municipality is over funding regional arts and underfunding their own municipal arts scene. Esquimalt is blessed with a very proactive, successful Arts Council and I am a champion of their work and want to see stable, current funding afforded this group by the Township of Esquimalt.
3. See answer #2.
Brenda O’Connor, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have always enjoyed various arts including participating in and encouraging my child to participate in various recreational dance classes (ballet, tap, ballroom), hands on art classes (drawing, painting), theatre, music (piano, violin, ukulele, choir), photography and crafts. I have helped to engage children and the elderly through crafts and the arts. I have accompanied seniors to art classes (stamping, painting), live theatre productions, and concerts. I have volunteered assisting children with seasonal craft projects (the Esquimalt Lantern festival). I participate in or attend many local arts initiatives Esquimalt offers and many of the Greater Victoria initiatives.
2. Yes I would support increased investment in the arts. Arts help to strengthen our community and showcase our communities unique talents.
I believe the Esquimalt Arts Council has done a wonderful job this past year with 4 unique programs (Memorial Park Music Fest, Gorge park arts festival, Sculpture Splash, and Township Classics Concerts at the English Inn).
I believe grants should be available to assist with these and similar events. Other low cost support could include free township advertising (such as community poster boards in the rec centre or inclusion in township publications) or possibly short term interest free loans (for organizational costs related to proven events).
Greater Victoria initiates like The Victoria Fringe Festival, The Victoria Film Festival and Symphony Splash are also deserving of some attention. I support some direct funding through a contribution to the CRD (which I think we do now). Our tourism industry and overall economy is greatly enhanced by these and other events.
Finally keeping the arts active an alive for children and in schools is very important. With less provincial funding going to school music and art programs more local support is needed to help bridge the gap. I believe the municipality should work with the school board and even help lobby the provincial government on increased arts funding. Groups that hold artistic competitions (like the Lions international peace poster competition) or hands on opportunities for children (like Music Together Victoria) also need to be supported. A grant system to help cover operating costs would likely be a good funding option to encourage more initiatives like these.
3. I propose continued support of the arts in Esquimalt and throughout the CRD.
Barb Desjardins, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Mayor
1. I am a strong supporter of the arts in this region. I have been a season ticket holder with the symphony in the past, I have been the Esquimalt representative on the CRD Arts committee for 2 years, and I have worked with council to set a process in place for Esquimalt to form its own Arts Council and provide support for their events.
2. We are already doing this in Esquimalt by supporting through local grants the Operatic Society as one example, and supporting through funding our Township Community Arts Council. This is being done along with Esquimalt funding CRD Arts Program. There may be some shifting of funds between organizations but I am committed to the level of funding we currently provide.
3. I believe I have answered this above. But to reiterate: I support Arts in the region and in our community. It is a significant economic driver as your report points out. There are many Arts groups that provide regional benefit and I would encourage all municipalities to participate at the CRD in the Arts Service. Esquimalt has a new and vibrant Arts council making things happen within our community and it is important to support this vehicle for local programming and therefore local economic benefit.
Olga Liberchuk, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Councillor
1. I believe in the arts. I’ve been a frequent attendant of the art scene in the region and in my own town of Esquimalt. In fact, the rich art scene in Greater Victoria was what caught my attention when I first moved to the Island. I have friends who perform in local theatres and friends who are musicians. I’m a member of a number of art and music organizations, including some that are members of the ProArt Alliance.
2. I believe arts and culture are at the heart of every engaged community. Local arts grants is one way in which I am committed to investing in the arts and supporting artists, community groups, and arts and culture at the municipal level.
I would like to see more of the CRD Arts Funding go towards benefitting Esquimalt based groups that promote a vibrant arts and culture scene in our community. I would also like to get CRD Arts to host more events in Esquimalt.
3. I am committed to funding community groups that contribute towards enhancing our culture and create a sense of community and belongingness. One of my priorities focuses on thriving arts and culture in our community. I believe arts contributes to community pride, increases attractiveness of our community and serves as a catalyst for economic development and tourism.
Tim Morrison, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have a life-long appreciation for the arts. In my adolescence/youth, I was quite heavily involved in the performing arts as both a musician and actor. As an adult, I support a variety of performing and visual arts as a loyal audience member. As an Esquimalt Councillor, I have been a committed advocate & supporter for Esquimalt’s burgeoning Township Community Arts Council (TCAC) and have been a volunteer at TCAC events. During my term, I also served one-year as a alternate member of the CRD Arts Committee. During the 1990s, I was a board member of the North Shore Arts Council while serving as a North Vancouver school trustee.
2. The Township Community Arts Council (TCAC) in Esquimalt knows that I have been committed to funding arts & culture, having consistently spoken out and voted for each of their funding requests along with other community grant requests related to arts & culture.
In terms of specific increased investment, Esquimalt Council needs to update and ensure we are replenishing our public arts reserve account as set out in our existing Public Art Policy. Money should be set aside on an annual basis pursuant to what we already have in place, but is not being followed consistently. This is a 12-year old policy that needs some attention and promotion as part of the new mandate of the incoming council to focus on the economic revitalization of Esquimalt. This revitalization strategy includes arts and culture as a major contributor for a more positive future for Esquimalt.
3. In Esquimalt, we are very fortunate to be home to a brand new grassroots arts group, the Township Community Arts Council (TAC), that has recently and rapidly grown into a major success right here in Esquimalt. Obviously, funding is a major consideration for the ongoing success and growth of this group. One of the proposals that we are pursuing is to have a portion of our CRD arts funding be reallocated to the Township Community Arts Council, a group that never existed back when the original CRD funding agreement was negotiated. But, now, circumstances have changed, so we feel obligated to explore all our options. One option that I would prefer would be a 50/50 win-win arrangement. For example, we currently contribute approximately $100,000 to the CRD arts fund. Unfortunately, very little of that funding is allocated directly back to local Equimalt arts and culture. Hence, I would propose continuing a $50,000 contribution to the CRD arts fund and an equal $50,000 towards the Township Community Arts Council. That way, funding would be shared equally for both local and regional arts & culture. The process for changing the funding formula is quite extensive and could take up to two years to work through the renegotiation process, so we wanted to get the ball rolling now to have options available in the future. I thoroughly enjoy the regional arts & culture scene of Greater Victoria and wish to see its continued success. I also want to see a vibrant arts & culture scene developed here in Esquimalt. Hence, I am hoping for a compromise by which both can be supported equally.
John Ducker, Township of Esquimalt, Candidate for Mayor
1. I enjoy the many benefits of arts in our community and have attended many concerts, festivals, events and celebrations of visual, musical and theatre arts over the years. My hands-on experience comes from my lifelong interest in photography. I am president of the Esquimalt Photography Club and a member of the Victoria Camera Club.
2. As your report clearly shows, investment in arts and culture offers us a solid return on economic development and helps to build healthier and happier communities. Events and projects which help revitalize Esquimalt’s downtown core increase livability and make our community a happier, more vibrant place to live, work and play.
Revitalization is a cornerstone of my campaign, and a strong emphasis on arts is a big part of my plan. Many cities throughout the world have successfully parlayed the abundant lure of various art forms to revitalize their downtown cores, including Nashville and Las Vegas, of all places. We can do it here, too. We just need the political will to make it happen.
3. One councillor would be appointed to act as liaison for Esquimalt’s arts initiatives. I would want to look comprehensively at ways to tie arts-related events and programs to tourism and economic development initiatives in the region. We need to continue to fund CRD arts programs, and I would want to revisit funding formulas and make sure we are leveraging those dollars in the most effective way.
District of Highlands
Karen Burns, District of Highlands, Candidate for Councillor
1. From an early age I was always fascinated by people who had artistic abilities, because I don’t have any. When I see artists perform through music, dance, literature or visual arts, I am amazed and also grateful that human performance is so uplifting and powerful. There have been many times in my life when I have been moved to tears by the power of the human voice.
I support the arts and artisans by buying art and attending theatrical and musical performances. I also support local artists by attending local showings, and buying art at local craft fairs, the Metchosin School for the Arts and the Coastal Collective.
2. Yes I will support increased investment in the Arts. I was happy to learn that the District of Highlands recently became a Tier 2 CRD Arts supporter and will continue to fund that level of support. If elected, I will also ensure that the District of Highlands continues to fund the West Shore Arts Council to provide focused and local art initiatives.
3. I believe that supporting local artists and arts initiatives is every bit as important as supporting sports, ball fields and hockey arenas to build a resilient and vibrant community. If elected, I will advocate for increased funding for the Arts by the District of Highlands. I will also support an increased use of our local arts facilities, including the Isabelle Reader Theatre at Spencer School.
City of Langford
Jim Munroe, City of Langford, Candidate for Councillor
1. I am not artistically inclined myself but I have always enjoyed going to the theatre for plays, musical events, and dance.
2. If elected to council I would support the opportunity to have a theatre constructed for the arts in Langford. I believe the community and businesses in the neighbourhood would assist in supporting the venture.
3. I want to bring the Arts to Langford.
Grant McLachlan, City of Langford, Candidate for Councillor
1. I’m not actively involved the arts, but I do often attend musicals and shows. With that said, I was a classic drama student in both middle and high school.
2. Investment in the arts falls to the responsibility of all levels of governments. Pursuant to this, I will lobby all levels of government (including municipalities) to support increased funding for the arts.
3. I support the creation of an arts and culture centre in the West Shore, and will actively advocate it as a councillor.
District of Metchosin
Anne Richmond, District of Metchosin, Candidate for Councillor
1. I’m not a working artist myself although my partner was formerly a professional potter (in Ontario and in Victoria) and many of my friends are working artists. I am presently on the Board of the Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre Association.
2. Metchosin already provides active encouragement and support to the Arts, both officially (for example the municipality’s facilitation of the Arts Centre) and through vibrant volunteer organizations and support (MACCA, the Stinking Fish group, and others). As Councillor I would expect to continue my involvement with these and explore ways the Council could continue to support the arts – for example, through endorsing ongoing Art festivals like the one done in summer 2014.
3. No specific campaign platform; my pledge is to continue to support the vision of a sustainable, rural Metchosin. This definitely includes continuing to recognize art and artists as an integral part of the economic and cultural life of the community and to ensure that they are able to thrive.
Kyara Kahakauwila, District of Metchosin, Candidate for Councillor
1. Music was my passion throughout high school. I was a tenor sax player for concert and stage band, percussion player for the percussion ensemble, and a soprano and alto for concert and jazz choir.
I was a performer with SD #62’s P.A.C.E Musical Theatre as well as performed twice for the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon.
I was a member of the CRD Arts Committee from 1999-2008 and Chaired the Committee for 5 years. During my time on the Committee I was successful in convincing Metchosin Council to increase our financial contribution and to have View Royal join as a full funding partner.
I am the President of the Capital Region Music Awards Society; a group that has been successful in securing BreakOut West and the Western Canadian Music Awards for Victoria in 2015.
My business has been a sponsor of the Victoria Symphony for the past 3 years and has renewed our sponsorship for the coming year. We have also contributed thousands of dollars of in kind service to several arts organizations like Ballet Victoria, Canadian College of Performing Arts, Conservatory of Music and the Pacific Opera, to name a few.
2. Governments at all levels need to be more active in the development and investment of the Arts. A society is not complete without a healthy Arts community. This includes the support needed within our school system to foster young artists and to enable young people to develop a passion for the Arts that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
Within the CRD, Arts development and support is a regional matter and more needs to be done to ensure that all regions are active participants in this process. It would be my pleasure to again work towards this goal!
3. I will continue to advocate for the Arts community within Metchosin and the broader CRD. This is not a job for one person, but one that needs community involvement and passionate participation.
Andy MacKinnon, District of Metchosin, Candidate for Councillor
1. I’m a musician in my spare time, and I’ve been involved in musical theatre. But my primary involvement in ‘the Arts’ is as a supporter of the incredible community of artists we have here in Metchosin. Our artists enrich our community financially, and in all other ways. We’re truly blessed to have so many exceptional artists in our community. Additionally, MISSA brings artists from around the world to Pearson College each year.
2. As a Councillor I will support community support of arts and artists in Metchosin.
3. I believe ‘the Arts’ enrich the CRD in many ways. There are many wonderful artists in our community (Metchosin). I will certainly do my best to support this valuable resource.
Karen Watson, District of Metchosin, Candidate for Councillor
1. I was a member of the Municipal Art’s Committee when I was on Council in the 90’s. I was able to convince Metchosin to make a annual financial contribution to the Art’s. It was at my suggestion that the committee became a function of the CRD.
2. Metchosin, currently contributes to the Art’s both locally and regionally. I cannot at this time make an increased financial commitment.
3. I will keep an open mind.
District of North Saanich
Murray Weisenberger, District of North Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I am a live music fan. I volunteered at Music in the Park in Brentwood Bay this summer. I also assist local glass artist on some of his projects.
2. Funds are very tight here and there will not be much extra for the arts. I will make sure we don’t make any more cuts and try to find a little extra.
3. We have one vote on the CRD. We will have little clout.
Heather Gartshore, North Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have been a patron of the arts my whole life, with music and theatre being my favorites. Although not currently in a choir, I’ve spent much of my adult life singing. Last weekend I enjoyed ‘Time Waits for No One’ at WHOS. I am also a quilter and knitter.
2. The vision statement in the North Saanich Strategic Plan identifies support for the arts as a priority, and North Saanich has made a contribution to the CRD Arts Fund the last two years. I would encourage us to make a stronger commitment by signing on as a member, and would look to our residents for feedback as to the level of support they would want to see.
3. The arts enrich our communities and the region in numerous ways, both tangible and intangible. Many North Saanich residents enjoy the vast array of opportunities available in the CRD. If elected, I look forward to ongoing discussion about Arts in the CRD.
Geoff Orr, District of North Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I don’t have a background in arts administration, but recognize its critical importance in society. Efforts to lobby for increased arts funding often emphasize the various direct and indirect economic benefits of investment in arts. We are “consumers’ of art. While return on investment is important, it may not properly capture the intangible benefits. As a community, we of course want to foster excellence in the arts and ensure the continued viability of our arts institutions. I enjoy the arts and periodically attend concerts and theatre performances in Sidney and Victoria. I also enjoy visiting the studios that participate in the Artist Studio Tour hosted by the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula. In the past few years, I’ve tried my hand at painting and I’ve been learning to play the saxophone. I believe there are tremendous personal and societal benefits to creative engagement and see a role for local government in facilitating arts events to inspire participation.
2. In principle, I’m in favour of public support for the arts. The arts enjoy greater government support in many other countries. Some arts grants help bring an applicant to a stage where they can attract and be sustained by sponsorship, donations and tickets sales. Other grants are ongoing operational grants. Many fine arts organizations, presenters and artists wouldn’t survive on private funding alone. The question, however, remains: what should the role of a small municipality be in a complex multilevel arts funding system? North Saanich as a rural residential community has limited funds and any significant increase in arts funding would require community input. Given that artists and audiences transcend municipal borders, some coordination of arts funding makes sense. Municipalities must determine how to best allocate their limited funds between local and intermunicipal endeavours. North Saanich contributes to both the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula and the CRD Arts Development Service. As a Council member, I might consider an increase in our voluntary contribution to the CRD service. I would have to review any increase against competing demands and the overall benefit to residents. In terms of arts infrastructure, North Saanich and Sidney jointly financed and provide ongoing funding to the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. North Saanich also contributes to the CRD Panorama Recreation Centre whose programming includes arts classes. Such collaborative ventures provide opportunities for residents to experience arts locally. Any requests for increased contributions would be considered individually. I would like to see greater integration of arts initiatives into other areas of our strategic plan to benefit from potential synergies and to promote local artists. Examples would be showcasing local musicians or artists at farm markets or using community parks for live performances. I would consider various contributionsinkind by North Saanich as a worthwhile investment in our local arts scene.
3. My campaign does not specifically address the future of arts in the CRD. Much of the discussion leading up to elections in the ruralresidential community of North Saanich has been focused on land use and housing. While campaigning, however, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss with residents the importance of arts and culture in our communities. I commend efforts to keep a spotlight on arts and culture to ensure that it remains part of the conversation. I understand that North Saanich currently contributes voluntarily to the CRD Arts Development Service. As a result, we are not eligible for grant funding and do not have 5 votes on the Board to determine the amount of annual grant funding. My ability as a North Saanich councillor to effect any change in the arts at a regional level would be limited. The current CRD arts funding model which provides for different levels of financial contribution from participants seems controversial. Some advocate the mandatory inclusion of all 13 municipalities as full participants. I understand that one current member is attempting to opt out of full participation. I would like to see more detailed discussion among the municipalities regarding the underlying basis for their respective decisions. By taking into account the unique circumstances of each municipality, we could hopefully achieve a better mutual understanding and perhaps precipitate a funding scheme satisfactory to all.
District of Oak Bay
Cairine Green, District of Oak Bay, Candidate for Mayor
1. I am currently the Oak Bay Council Liaison to the CRD Regional Arts Committee and I sit as Oak Bay’s representative on the Royal McPherson Theatres Society Board (RMTS).
2. Yes. If elected, I will advocate for a better funding model at the CRD that encourages ALL thirteen municipalities to participate in regional arts funding. I will raise the profile of the Regional Arts Committee at the CRD Board table because I feel currently that the Committee’s voice is somewhat marginalized. I will ensure that in making Council appointments to our regional arts bodies, members will be individuals who will be strong advocates for arts and culture not only for Oak Bay but across the region.
3. While I have not referenced arts specifically in my literature, I am proposing more proactive leadership both locally and regionally, on issues that impact heritage and culture. I want to see arts and culture in Oak Bay given greater profile and support through existing municipal Commissions and Committees, I want to continue to encourage the tremendous work of the Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA), who make their home in Oak Bay and I want to continue to support Oak Bay’s first Arts Laureate position, created last year.
Joan Russow, District of Oak Bay, Candidate for Councillor
1. Studied painting in Paris 1960-61
Scola di Belli Arte Perugia (Department of Art) Summer 1961
Art Award, Rome 1961
University of Rome (Faculty of Architecture) 1961-62
Taught Art Part-time1962-63 in OTTAWA
University of Seville (Faculty of Architecture) 1963-64
Ecole des Beaux Arts (Faculty of Architecture) 1964-65
Editor, National Art Gallery of Canada
BA in Art History, in Precolombian Art UBC 1976
Completed Course work for MA in PreColombian art 1978
2. Yes I believe that there is not enough funding for the arts, and that the contribution of the arts to culture and to the economy is not appreciated.
3. I am running in Oak Bay and I support strengthening heritage protection and I think there should be a planer and an advisory panel to set out firm design guidelines for new buildings.
Heather Holmes, District of Oak Bay, Candidate for Councillor
1. My personal experience with the Arts includes supporting and attending galleries, studios, theater, art shows, local performances and events in the CRD.During employment at an Oak Bay Avenue business I worked together with local elementary schools to prominently display student art projects within the office space.
I am a regular visitor to the Victoria Art Gallery preferring to purchase local work and at times have participated in the art rental program.
I am a strong enthusiast of the performing arts in the CRD including amateur theatre and dance at all levels.
2. My platform includes revitalizing business support in Oak Bay. In part, this will include further examination of investments in the arts.
The contract of Oak Bay’s art laureate will expire during November 2014 following the municipal election. I advocate revisiting this contract for possible reinstatement.
I further advocate continued support to future public art projects, whether temporary or permanent, such as the Oak Bay Painted Piano project or more recently the Sno’uyutth totem pole project located at Oak Bay Secondary School. This project received a $6,000 grant from Oak Bay Council.
3. I advocate exploring all opportunities for art within the CRD. My major focus however, will be within the District of Oak Bay.
Oak Bay includes many art groups such as the Oak Bay Art Club and Oak Bay Community Artists.
In my opinion, we have a responsibility to provide support to these groups as a part of our larger community.
Many practicing artists enjoy studio space in Oak Bay. The new Neighborhood Learning Center is a welcome venue addition to the community that will provide many cultural and education opportunities for the arts. Oak Bay Avenue hosts many art galleries.
It is imperative that the District of Oak Bay works with local art, music and cultural groups to further engage our community. We have an opportunity to be a destination hub for arts and cultural activities within the CRD.
I advocate expanding community driven activities for artists and musicians in our parks, art shows and tours, and the displaying of art in all of our public facilities. I support exploring possibilities of multicultural festivals throughout the year within our churches, outdoor green spaces and beaches.
Kevin Murdoch, Oak Bay, Candidate for Councillor
1. Arts are near and dear to my heart. Prior to entering Engineering at the University of Victoria, I did a dual major in high school in Mathematics and Fine Art, followed by a one-year certificate program in commercial art and design. I am still an amateur enthusiast photographer and sometimes sketcher. In addition to volunteering with local art events and being a member of the Canadian Heritage Arts Society, it has been a privilege to serve as Vice-Chair of the Greater Victoria Library Board for the last two years, and help develop the inter-relationships between the Library, Art Gallery, Symphony, Museum, and other institutions.
2. I support increased investment, but targeted. It’s important to understand that our arts-related businesses and events draw people from the region and around the world to Oak Bay, boosting our local economy and contributing to our community vibrancy. These include:
• Art galleries that showcase both local and international artists
• The Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA), which brings 85 performance-arts students from across Canada and over 20 supporting faculty to Oak Bay, bringing around $2 million in direct financial investment.
• We need, as a community, to support the modest leadership position Oak Bay has attained as an arts destination, including additional investment, and believe the creation of the Arts Laureate this year is a good start. My priorities for the Arts include:
• Continue our financial support for the regional arts such as the McPherson and Royal Theatre Society, the CRD arts funding, and the Community Arts Council.
• Help grass-roots community organizations and the Business Improvement Association (BIA) host events that promote Oak Bay to the broader region
• Support local galleries in their efforts to see Oak Bay as a commercial fine-arts destination
• Finding a new home for the CCPA in Oak Bay
• Host more community-wide open-air events like “music in the park”
• Develop a public art policy to allow for the showcasing of public art
• The many musical and theatre productions held in church halls, high school theatre, and Oak Bay Beach Hotel David Foster dinner theatre
• The many fine art-related events such as the Bowker Creek Brush-Up and Artists’ Studio Tours
3. See above.
Hazel Braithwaite, District of Oak Bay, Candidate for Councillor
1. In my younger years I performed in musical theatre, and while on council (2005 to 2011) I was happy to support the one million dollar donation to the new Oak Bay High School Theatre. My brother-in-law is an artist (Andy Wooldridge) and this has given me a unique perspective of art in Victoria.
I also sit on the Community Initiatives Committee (CIC) and the Oak Bay Tourism Committee which both gave monetary and committee support to the new Oak Bay Arts Laureate program. This program has increased awareness of public art in Oak Bay and will be something that I will continue to support when on council. The CIC committee also introduced “music in the park” at Willows Beach this year. This was extremely successful and we will definitely be looking at increasing the number of dates for next year.
2. Yes – as mentioned above, I would absolutely continue to support an increased investment in the arts. For example, in Oak Bay this could be done by expanding the Arts Laureate program and by finding innovative ways to find funding to purchase public art. I would also support increasing the funding for the music in the park program.
3. I believe that increasing appreciation of art in our own communities will in turn raise awareness of art throughout the CRD. Having council support Oak Bay’s Arts Laureate program is one way we can do this.
Tom Croft, District of Oak Bay, Candidate for Councillor
1. I am a long time supporter, and participant in the arts. In the past, I acted through high school and for the St. Luke’s Players. Today, I play guitar and sing in a neighbourhood choir, i.e. “Thorne Singers.” Beyond this, I was a Director, and fund raiser, for the Kaleidoscope Theatre, and have sung with the Camosun Chorister, Arbutus Singers, Rotary Choirs. As well, my wife Jill is a fabric artist, and our home has often been used by her quilting group.
2. I support, and will encourage Council to support retaining the School of Performing Arts here in Oak Bay.
3. A vibrant and active arts community currently exists in the Capital Regional District. With our population here on Vancouver Island steadily growing, the hope is that the opportunities for the performing arts will grow significantly along with that population.
Eric Wood Zhelka, District of Oak Bay, Candidate for Councillor
1. For an engineer, I have rather extensive experience in the arts!!
I have been a member of several choirs over the years, most recently with the Spirit Rising Community Choir. (I’m a tenor) I play the drum… music is a big part of our family life.
I have performed in plays with VideoCaberet and street performance/parades with Shadowland Theatre. I took part in a multi-year Island to Island Arts Exchange with Peter Minshall in Trinidad where I learned the intricate art of stilt dancing – a skill I taught children and brought to the streets during Carnival and Caribana. I am a founding director of the Swizzlestick Theatre company.
I am an amateur ballroom dancer and have occasionally performed.
Most recently, I am expressing myself physically through the defensive martial art of Aikido. I am an assistant with the children’s program at Victoria Aikikai.
When I travel, I make time to visit local galleries and museums. (And I love to brag about POV, the conservatory, and the RBCM when I’m in other places.)
2. Arts and culture, in my opinion, is part of what holds our society together, whether through creative protest or joyful celebration. I will look for ways to support the Arts here as I have elsewhere.
3. The CRD is responsible for implementing the established funding model for the Arts in the region; I’m certainly interested in promoting our support as a participating municipality. The Arts don’t thrive and grow without appropriate funding.. especially funding that supports long-term planning.
I will continue to support Oak Bay’s Arts Laureate position created last year. I’m sensitive to those who may not find arts and culture quite their cup of tea; reasonable time restrictions on sound and light are always needed.
District of Saanich
Shawn Newby, District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have been involved in music since I was a teenager. I was a drummer for 6 years in a band named Autoviolet in Vancouver. I began to learn piano a few years ago and plan to try cello at some point.
2. I know Saanich currently supports the arts. I will work as a councillor to continue that financial support as well as encouraging more people to get involved.
3. As a former musician, I will support the arts in the CRD. I would like to see the same attention given to the arts that is given to the sporting community.
Colin Plant , District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have been extensively involved in the Arts since I was a student in public school. They are a major contributor to who I am today and I earn my living working in the Arts as a high school Theatre teacher. I truly believe the Arts are our culture’s greatest legacy and are a reflection of our society’s health.I graduated high school and attended the University of Victoria’s Theatre program. I studied Acting, Directing and graduated with Honours. After graduation I pursued a career in the theatre as a professional theatre director. After several years pursuing this career, I turned to public education and became a Drama teacher. Since then I have been involved with teaching youth, supporting Fine Arts and being an audience member in our region.
Some of my previous relevant experience includes;
-Member of the CRD Arts Advisory Council
-Member of Saanich Arts Advisory Committee
-Board Member, Victoria Theatre Guild
-Board Member, Open Space Victoria
-Artistic Director, Island Repertory Company
-President, BC Drama Educators Association
-Worked with Belfry Theatre, Pacific Opera Victoria, Victoria Operatic Society, William Head on Stage, Western Canada Theatre Company, Vancouver Playhouse
2. 100 yes! The fact that several municipalities do NOT contribute at all or contribute only as partial funders is unacceptable.
I want to be a Champion for the Arts in the CRD! I will advocate for every municipality to fund the CRD Arts Development Service at the full participant level and will visit every non-participating council if appointed to the CRD Arts Committee and present to them on the topic.
3. I propose educating the public, Saanich Council and the CRD that funding the Arts in our area is an investment and not a charitable activity. I believe the public is receptive to the view that Arts are a reflection of our community’s health and understand the importance of a vital Arts community in the CRD.
I think Saanich needs to continue to fully fund the CRD Arts Development Service and encourage others to do the same by setting an example.
I am also committed to seeing Saanich unveil a major piece of Public Art each year by working with Artists, Service Groups, and Government agencies. This too can be a model for the region.
Dean Murdock , District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I am a life-long patron of the arts and, in my high school days was involved in performing arts.
2. I am very supportive of investment in Arts. I was pleased to support the development of the Cedar Hill Arts Centre and would be interested in working with our regional partners to develop space to showcase arts and performing arts in our community. We must work collaborative to find the opportunities to invest in the arts. It’s the lifeblood of a thriving and dynamic community.
3. Saanich is the largest contributor to regional arts funding. I support a leadership role for Saanich as we work collaboratively with our regional partners to invest in and support the arts in our community. Arts are an integral part of a thriving and dynamic community.
Frank Leonard, District of Saanich, Candidate for Mayor
1. I’ve supported arts initiatives and funding – in fact, was an advocate for the funding that we were able to put in place at the CRD – and of course, Saanich opened the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill recently.
2. Saanich has been a full contributor to Arts funding and will continue to do so; we will also encourage our neighbours to do the same.
3. Saanich will continue to support regional and local arts.
Fred Haynes, District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor & CRD
1. I believe we all have a natural drive to self-expression and creativity. This can be in any field, though we think first of visual art, dance, performance. As President of the Saanich Legacy Foundation, I have worked to secure funding for groups such as Music in the Park, and arts and culture across Saanich. Through organizing the Prospect Lake Local Food and Country Market these past three years I have provided a venue for local potters, painters, sculptors, woodworkers and photographers to meet the public and sell their art. For me, it is in the garden that my esthetic drive comes out, while my wife is learning painting and drawing. I support my sons in photography and have also been involved in drama, dance and playing music. I am thrilled to live in the Greater Victoria Region where I attend events including the Jazz, Buskers and Gorge on Art Festivals, the Moss St. Paint In, Symphony Splash and others; and visit local artists studios and galleries in. I joined the board of Saanich Legacy Foundation in large part due to its Music in the Park sponsorship. I believe it’s really important to bringing art to the people. The variety of performers that come here and the caliber of those who live here is something that gives Victoria and the Peninsula its magic.
2. Yes. Saanich has long supported the Arts both regionally and within the Municipality. The most recent investment with in the municipality have been the Arts Center at Cedar Hill Recreation Center and the Seniors Center which is part of Cordova Bay Elementary School which provides space for a wide variety of activities, including The Arts. On going grants support the Royal and McPherson Theaters. The amounts granted need to be reviewed annually and as appropriate cost of living and or special amounts for capital improvements provided to ensure the infrastructure is appropriate to meet the needs of the community. We need to also look at whether families on low incomes are being supported enough to have their children participate in art programs so that we ‘grow’ future artists and that everyone has the opportunity for artistic expression.
3. I would continue to support the Arts in the CRD. It is critical to the economic well-being of the municipality and the region and contributes to the livability of the area by enhancing culture and vibrancy.
Vicki Sanders, District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. My lifelong involvement in art began as soon as I was able to hold a pencil. I was blessed to be born into a large family with strong heritage in drawing and painting. Every opportunity of artistic expression was encouraged; drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography’s. It was limitless. During my growing up years I entered many competitions successfully. I majored in Art in high school. I continued my studies in fine arts at the University of Victoria. With a designation in Illustration I attained a degree in Advertising Art from Art Instruction Schools, Minneapolis, Minnesota. I studied graphic arts, photography and sculpture at Camosun College. For ten years I taught lessons in fabric painting, decoupage, glass etching, paper tole and fabric arts. I have oil and acrylic painting, sculptures and pen and ink drawings in private collections. I have done commissioned work. There is not a part of my life that is not enhanced by art. I enjoy combining my graphic and fine art skills with my photography skills to create presentations of personal lives.
I am a founding member of “The Art Group” an eclectic mix of artists with varied interests. Although somewhat scattered in life pressures we still manage to come together to share our ideas.
Prior to my role as councillor, I was a member of Saanich’s Arts Advisory Committee for ten years. During that time I participated in the creation of Saanich’s Comprehensive Art’s Policy and approval in 2002. A vision from that policy was an Arts Centre in Saanich. After many years of planning and discussion with the arts community Saanich successfully constructed the Cedar Hill Arts Centre. The centre is visionary in its reuse of the old recreation building material, the public arts component and the green roof. I am proud of the partnership that Saanich has with the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria at the Arts Centre.
In my role as councillor for the district of Saanich, I have been Saanich’s representative to the CRD Arts Committee since 2006. I was chair for several years at which time we initiated the Arts Culture Activity Report, the Ideas Grant and completed the first strategic plan. I chaired Saanich’s first Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee (ACH) at which time we enlarged the annual Celebration of the Arts event to include arts vendors and education from the region. I have again been the chair of the ACH for the last year and a half. During this time we have taken the opportunity to review all relevant policies and plans pertaining to the arts with the goal to identify gaps and relevance in today’s times. I am particularly concerned about funding for public art and the introduction of more public art throughout the district of Saanich.
I am a patron of the arts. I value what the arts organizations bring to the region.
2. I am on record as a champion of increased funding to the Arts. I have vehemently championed having all municipalities in the region to become full funders. Full funding is based on 50% assessment and 50% population. Saanich is the largest contributor at approximately a million and a quarter. I unsuccessfully took a motion to the CRD board to change the bylaw which would see all municipalities becoming full funders over a course of five years. This is the same formula that the existing core municipalities used when the CRD Arts Development Service was established from the inter-municipal committee. With the current formula a municipality can become part of the service for $500 and receive the same benefit as one contributing full funding. This formula is neither fair and equitable to the taxpayer nor does it increase funding to the arts. CRD arts full funding is an average of $25 per household. I suggest the taxpayers in the non full funding and non participating municipality have a choice to have whether they would support regional arts for $25.
3. I will continue to support programs that enhance the ability for arts organizations to be successful in the region. I believe there is an opportunity for organizations to share administration and operating space to reduce costs. I think there is a role for councils to educate the public on the small cost per household to guarantee that the region remains a vibrant arts community. We are one of the cities in Canada with the higher population of artists. I call on them to work with their elected officially to raise the awareness of the value culturally and economically to the region.
Paul Gerrard, District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. I am presently on the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society Board and I am a past-president of the Greater Victoria Public Library Board and a Greater Victoria Library Board Trustee for 8 years (the maximum term)
2. I will continue to support Saanich’s funding of the Arts in our budget process and through our Community Grants program, but I cannot promise to increase investment as there are so many other worthwhile demands on our budget, particularly as senior levels of government have seemingly abandoned investment in the Arts.
3. Arts, culture and heritage are vital elements in the culture of Saanich, and if re-elected, I will continue to support all of those components that are essential to maintaining and enhancing the wonderful quality of life that we experience in this municipality.
Judy Brownoff, District of Saanich,Candidate for Councillor & CRD Director
1. Over the years I have been involved at the political level sitting on committees supporting arts development in the region. I am President of BC Healthy Communities and Arts and Culture are part of what makes all communities “healthier”.
2. Saanich has been a strong “financial funder” of the Arts for years. Our contribution to the Regional Fund is as full funder. We continue to provide “arts and culture” funding to events during our budget process (excluding ones that get from the regional fund); our Arts Centre at Cedar Hill was an excellent way to invest in the expanding “arts and culture” in Saanich and the region; and our music in the park program provides excellent venues to highlight local talent as well.
3. I will continue to support arts and culture as a key part of “Healthy Saanich” and our community’s future growth. Art in public places, music in the park, arts events celebrating arts at the centre, there are a lot of opportunities.
Susan Brice, District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. My experience ranges from
PERSONAL: I am a frequent attender of the Arts in Victoria particularly live theatre and the Art Gallery. I have and continue to fund piano and violin lessons for my children and grand-children at the Conservatory.
PUBLIC: As a previous Chair of the Greater Victoria School Board I always found resources to bring children and the local arts productions together including the Symphony. As a municipal councillor, I sat previously on the committee that allocated funding to the arts. That function is now handled by the CRD and I am proud that Saanich is a full funder. I supported the development of the Arts Centre in Saanich at Cedar Hill Rec. Centre, and I am an enthusiastic supporter and attender of the various” Music in the Park” and other community based programs in Saanich. I have over the years been a strong supporter of Saanich’s three party ownership of the Royal Theatre.
2. I completely endorse the move to attempt to get all municipalities as full funders of the CRD Arts fund.
3. Saanich will work cooperatively with its neighbours to find a way to ensure sustainability of the arts in our community as that is critical to two themes in our Saanich Vision of Social Well-Being and Economic Vibrancy.
Nichola Wade, District of Saanich, Candidate for Councillor
1. Lifelong arts lover. Served on the Board of the Royal Macpherson Theatre Society for many years.
2. Continued support for Saanich Heritage and Arts Committee and contributions to the CRD Arts committee. Personal patronage and support of arts and performers.
3. See above.
Town of Sidney
Peter Wainwright, Town of Sidney, Candidate for Councillor
1. For the past 3 years I have been on the board of the Sidney Museum and Archives (last 2 years as president). The Museum puts on monthly temporary exhibits and features local arts about half the year. I also served on the Sidney Events Advisory Group (SEAG). Many of the events SEAG has been involved with feature the arts.
2. In my previous terms as a councillor I have always supported funding for the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula (CACSP) and the Mary Winspear Centre. I believe we should increase the funding to the Mary Winspear Centre. I would support maintaining the current level of funding to CACSP. I would support increasing funding of arts events in Sidney particularly where this might contribute to a more vibrant downtown.
3. I don’t propose anything specific other than increasing funding to the Mary Winspear Centre.
Steve Price, Town of Sidney, Candidate for Mayor
In 2008, when I and Mayor Cross were elected, his vision was to focus on the arts and culture as one of the recognized major economic and social foundations for a community. It seemed ideal for Sidney. I fully supported him in this. At Council’s first strategic planning session in February of 2009, we established a goal of supporting arts and culture to enhance the economic and social life of the Town. We recognized that we lived in an area rich in artistic and cultural talent and in a community that valued music, art, dance, literature and other art forms. We also recognized that a vibrant arts and cultural scene created a sense of energy, appealing to all ages and both residents and visitors alike.
Over the last six years, Council did the following in support of it arts and culture goals
1. Established the Community Development Commission/Committee with the Community Arts Council representation
2. Formalized the relationship with the Arts Council, moving its support funding to line item in the budget and increased its grant
3. Reduced the charges to the Arts Council for the use of the Tulista park building as the Art Centre to a nominal level with a formal contract committing the Arts Council to an agreement that they provide a public art centre and gallery which would appeal to residents and visitors alike.
4. Continued full support and supplemental support when requested to the Mary Winspear Centre
5. Provided direct support to the Literary Festival
6. Provided direct support to the ArtSea Festival
7. Created the Waterfront Sculpture Walk
8. Co-funded with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Association a part-time event co-ordinator to support community groups in co-ordinating community event planning
9. Established the Sidney Events Planning Event Planning Advisory Group
I am committed to keeping the arts and culture as key components to the life of our town. I will continue as Mayor to support what is already a vibrant part of our community
District of Sooke
Brenda Parkinson, District of Sooke, Candidate for Councillor
1. We arrived in Sooke in 2002 and I immediately became involved in the Local Art scene.
– The Sooke Fine Arts Show 2003 & 2004 –Steering Committee Member & Volunteer Coordinator
– Sooke Community Arts Council 2003 – Present
– Fine Arts & Cultural Heritage Festival 2005 – Committee Member & Volunteer Coordinator
– District of Sooke – Appointment by Mayor & Council – Sooke Outdoor Arts Program 2004 – 2005 – Committee Member
– District of Sooke – Appointment by Mayor & Council – Sooke Program for the Arts 2005 – 2008 – Chair
– District of Sooke – Appointment by Mayor – Advisory Panel to the Mayor on Arts & Beautification 2012 – Present – Chair
– District of Sooke – Communities in Bloom 2013 and 2014 – Chair
– Thursday Night Market – Sooke Region Museum – Arts & Beautification Committee – One of the Founding Members
– Participating in my first ever Water Colour classes and have completed 2 paintings
2. The District of Sooke continues to support increased investment in the Arts. As the Chair of the Arts & Beautification Committee we have seen many art projects come to fruition. I have written and received grants for a number of art projects, which I plan on continuing to do and we also receive 3% funding from the Building Permit Fees.
3. At this time I see Sooke supporting local Sooke artists. I tried on numerous occasions to be part of the CRD Arts Committee and was unsuccessful. I really need to learn what the CRD Arts can do for Sooke!
City of Victoria
Paul Servos, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. As the Executive Director of the BC and Alberta Recreation and Parks Associations for over 15 years I was a leader in the “Benefits of Recreation” (which included the arts) movement that articulated that recreation, sport, and the arts are essential services. Services that are a core municipal responsibility.
2. I believe that recreation, sport, and the arts are important preventative social services essential to quality of life of a community. Investments should be targeted at youth and developmental programs. Adult and elite programming is an entertainment and should be user pay and patron/business supported.
3. My focus is a vibrant Victoria – festivals, sporting events, and the arts are essential to attracting business and residential activity downtown.
Ben Isitt, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have a strong interest in arts and culture, as the author of three books and an active patron of the arts in Greater Victoria for more than two decades. As an elected official, I have supported ongoing investment in the arts through City of Victoria grants programs and CRD arts funding, as well as operating and capital funds to the Royal and McPherson Theatres. I have also advocated for funding to be equitable between arts organizations. I participated as a speaker during the recent Thinklandia 2014 festival and I have worked with grassroots organizations to organize concerts and cultural events in diverse settings in the Capital Region, from a folk music concert in the Norway House in Victoria to outdoor festivals on Pender Island and Salt Spring Island this past summer, incorporating arts and culture into advocacy on social and environmental issues.
2. Yes, I will support increased investment in the Arts in the form of grants to community centres and neighbourhoods, to encourage festivals, theatre, public art and culture in every corner of the city. I also support stable, ongoing, multi-year funding for arts and cultural organizations from the City of Victoria and Capital Regional District, including operating funds and capital investment in facilities including the Royal and McPherson Theatres and outdoor cultural spaces including the Royal Athletic Park, Centennial Square and the Beacon Hill Park Bandshell.
3. I support ongoing investment in arts and culture and creation of new cultural spaces in the City and CRD, with particular attention to improvements to City-owned land at Ships Point on the Inner Harbour below Wharf Street. My vision for this land, which was recently expanded through the acquisition of an adjacent provincial parcel, includes transforming the current surface parking lots into a signature festival site on the Inner Harbour – creating an inviting greenspace for residents and visitors, with a dynamic natural amphitheatre to support festivals and other cultural activities, including generous public art components along the waterfront. I support working with arts organizations and residents to identify other priorities for investment in the city and region.
Pamela Madoff, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have worked in the arts when I managed a repertory film theatre in Vancouver. I have also written film and book reviews and worked as a writer on subjects such as urban planning, architecture and heritage preservation. Since being elected to Council in 1993 I have taken the lead on the Arts and Culture portfolio and have been the Council representative on the Art in Public Places Committee. I am Vice-Chair of the CRD Arts Committee.
2. I have consistently supported increased investment in the Arts. On the CRD Arts Committee we have worked to increase the number of municipalities who participate in the arts service and to increase the requisition of member municipalities who are not yet contributing at the full level of financial participation. At the City of Victoria, even through very difficult financial times, funding for the arts has been maintained and we have seen some modest increases, as well. As the economy continues to improve the time will be right to look at the overall funding levels. In addition, through the City’s permissive property tax exemption, we are able to assist arts organizations who are fortunate enough to own their own facility. In addition, many of the ProArt member organizations receive grants from the City.
3. In particular, in Victoria, I will be advocating for the development of a Cultural Plan which would augment the work we have already done on cultural mapping. I will also be looking forward to working with folks in the arts community to develop a vision for an artists’ run centre in the city. I am also interested in looking for ways to provide accommodation for artist/studio spaces in residential or commercial developments. I was fortunate to grow up in Victoria when the city was affordable. Although it was not a large city it was rich with artists and writers. In spite of the fact that the arts contribute in excess of $180M to the local economy I believe that more needs to be done to communicate the value of the arts to the community in general. The lack of affordable living/studio space is a significant concern to me. I feel that artists need to be recognized as a group who struggle to find accommodation in Victoria and that their particular needs should become part of the consideration when providing non-market housing opportunities.
Margaret Lucas, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I am the General Manager of the Hotel Rialto so I have had the opportunity to work with most of the Art organizations in town. We support many of the companies with contributions through gift certificates, advertising and financial contributions. My husband and I have been members of the Belfry Theatre and the Victoria Jazz Society for years.
2. It is imperative that we build and support our Arts and Culture in the City. They enhance and bring vibrancy to our City. Outdoor festivals, food carts, music are what bring our tourists and residents together. Tourism is our #1 economic generator in the City so the importance of having a healthy Arts Community is paramount to that investment.
3. We need to reinforce our funding commitments to the Arts. This means all communities/municipalities must share in these costs. We need to advocate to the higher levels of government to support our efforts to fund the arts and for them to bring larger dollars to the table. We need to work collaboratively on all levels to keep our Arts community healthy for many years to come.
Jeffrey Olafson, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. My parents are local publishers, who have had a long history within the arts community of Victoria. I grew up working for my parents, a business which my father started approximately thirty years ago. I consider myself an artist and poet, as well my partner and friends are involved within the arts community here.
2. Yes I will support increased investment in the arts. We need more affordable venues and pop-up galleries to decentralize the role of the artist and art gallery, so that it becomes more accessible to people, and less an esoteric organization. We need to create more events, which focus on local artists, and programs for youth and aspiring artists, who are often marginalized by the formal economy – in other words they, like myself, have struggled to find a job in this city. Investment in the arts are minimal, but the output, both for the local economy and the community, is high.
3. Let’s face it, the greater Victoria area is a region with little industry. Although there is a vibrant, young entrepreneurial sector which we need to facilitate, many young people are out of work, or without work. We need to make art an actual form of living for young people, who are unable to make a living for themselves otherwise. We need more events and community hubs, which bolster the local economy.
According to a recent TC article, only 5 municipalities fully support the arts. We need artists, whether their municipality fully supports the CRD arts funding or not, to be fully supported by the capital region. I’ve heard many people endorse amalgamation as a form of getting other municipalities in the region to fully fund the arts – services, which their citizens do reap the benefit of. However, I think this is incorrect because when the majority of municipalities don’t support the arts, it’s more likely that they’ll elect officials who represent that ideology, and we risk even lower investment in the arts.
James Harasymow, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. My wife and I owned and operated a music cafe called Namaste for a while in downtown Victoria. We had local artist work on our walls and live music six days of the week, as well as workshops and lectures.
At this time I am also in the process of organizing a flash mob music festival in Victoria. (it’s supposed to be a secret so keep in the down low : )
2. I certainly believe my answer would be yes. But being I do not know the financial flexibility of the city’s budget I cannot say for sure.
I would like to see certain parks in the city become more available for concerts and organized creative events.
3. I certainly will encourage any creative venture anyone wants to organize. I believe city owned venues should be easily available for artistic events. I will be pushing for more festivals.
My vote will always go in the direction of any artistic venture, with the only obstacle being inflated or unnecessary costs. There are always ways to balance the most important things in life though. Art brings people together, and that is something I strongly support.
John Luton, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor and CRD Director
My own experience with and involvement in the arts is largely as someone who enjoys the value it adds to our community, though a couple of projects I have been involved in may be worth noting.
When I was president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, I initiated a “Bicycle Art” auction to help fund our activities and that one time event also gave rise to further exhibitions that accompanied later events in our community, using the bicycle as a theme in visual arts. Also, as part of my work in the community, I worked with Matthew Payne of Theatre Skam to help navigate the local and regional permissions he would need to launch “Bike Ride”, a performance event that uses the Galloping Goose regional trail as a venue for a series of short pieces in a variety of settings. “Bike Ride” has become, I think, a signature piece in the Victoria theatre scene and continues to succeed. I am happy to have helped give it a kick-start.
I support ongoing and growing funding for the arts in Greater Victoria. At present, efforts to find cost savings at the local and regional level continue to find easy targets in arts organizations and cultural events that are seen by some as throwing money at community groups when other needs are more pressing. I disagree. I think the arts are essential to the vibrancy of our community and the success of our city. I would be happy to continue that defense of essential funding, and look for opportunities to add to the pot.
If elected I will again focus some of my efforts on a project I helped to launch, the Johnson St. Bridge replacement project (needed for a variety of reasons), but where the budget for public art has been whittled away in efforts to cut costs. While adding to that budget may not be popular among some critics, I was a vocal and consistent supporter of allocating sufficient funds in the project budget to celebrate the old bridge and preserve pieces of the structure to be repurposed as public art. I believe that the addition of public art to the project is an essential element of our responsibilities.
Over the course of my term on council, I was consistent in my support for public art, and the maintenance of budget commitments to support a variety of artistic expression, from the visual to theatre, music and the performing arts.
The future of the arts is essential to the success of the CRD. A few years back I attended a conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which has recast itself as a visitor destination in place of an industrial past that no longer supports their community. One of their strategies has been to introduce public art into areas of the city where they are trying to induce new development and investment. It’s been a successful strategy to invite people to explore the possibilities and has helped to redevelop neighbourhoods in need of renewal. I think this strategy would be an excellent means of adding value to the village plan concepts we shepherded through council during my term on council to help our own plans attract the attention of both the community and those who we need to recruit to help us build those people oriented centres we envision they will become.
I see also the opportunity through the CRD to add value to our growing network of regional trails to add public art and gathering spaces that could be used, as Theatre SKAM does, for performance oriented work. On a grander scale, adding to the stock of performance centres or flexible space could also be a way of turning those beautiful waterfront spaces we currently save for the enjoyment of empty cars into more people oriented spaces that emphasize more people oriented uses for our most valuable real estate.
Jeremy Loveday, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have been involved with the arts as a performer, organizer, and supporter for most of my life. As a teenager I put on small concerts and had a DIY independent record label. For the past 7 years I have been deeply involved in the poetry and spoken word community in Victoria and Nationally. I have served as a director of the Victoria Poetry Project, a non-profit arts organization, aimed at promoting poetry in Victoria. I am also one of the founders of the Victorious Voices Youth Arts Festival and the City of Victoria’s Youth Poet Laureate program. I have served as the mentor for the Youth Poet Laureate for the past 2 years. As a spoken word artist, I have performed on stages across Canada and beyond and my videopoems have reached a large international audience.
2. Yes. If elected, I will continue my work as a champion of the arts in Victoria. I will work with artists and arts organizations including the Pro-Art Alliance to identify opportunities for increased support from the City of Victoria and the CRD. I will also actively lobby all municipalities in the CRD to contribute equitably to the CRD Arts Grants.
3. The CRD is home to an incredible wealth of artistic talent and driven arts organizers who are doing the hard work to make Victoria a thriving cultural hub. I think these artists, organizations, and arts businesses should receive the support and funding they need. There is much evidence that investing in the arts is beneficial both financially and socially. If elected, I will be a champion for arts and culture on Victoria City Council and I will look to have ongoing engagement with the arts community to identify needs and help meet them where possible.
Hilary Groos, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. There is no question when it comes to my involvement with Victoria’s arts community. It dates back to my early childhood, from participating in the then “Victoria Music Festival” for well over a decade, to being one of the first students at the original “Victoria School of Music” on Pandora Ave. This involvement, certainly on the music side, continues to this day as I am still active in Victoria’s arts community. Together with my siblings, we have benefited tremendously throughout our lives from the strong arts scene this city has offered and we are incredibly grateful. We are recognized for giving back via our commitment to such events as my brother Brian Groos’ Pacific Baroque Festival (I organize events), and my sister Madeleine Humer’s award-winning Victoria Children’s Choir (I am a past Board Director & still volunteer). Through our “David & Pep Groos Foundation”, young vocalists receive financial support towards furthering their training. We are also supporters of the Maritime Museum, the Art Gallery and the Emily Carr Foundation, whose house on Government St my father bought in the early 1960’s to save it from demolition. When living abroad, I continued to volunteer/participate in the arts communities of cities such as Brussels, Berlin, Geneva, Moscow through such activities as volunteering to run an architectural group in Moscow for an international club, and covering VIP relations for the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Singing in choirs in all of these cities connected me to other arts groups that I supported.
2. The Arts contribute to the well-being of a community and Victoria is fortunate to have a wealth of artistic offerings. If this is to continue, then further support and investment is necessary. Victoria residents have one of highest cultural spending per capita in Canada, which is a clear sign that there is a demand for arts and culture here.
Victoria’s Arts Community should, via all levels of support, be seen as an investment whether coming from individual, business or government levels. Nevertheless, the levels of support are dependent on the economic indicators at the time – it can rise when the (local) economy is flourishing and can decrease when our (local) economy is not doing as well. But from where does this investment come? Through promoting connections between businesses and the arts organizations and this is done by informing them of the importance of the arts in our community. Everyone would agree it is unrealistic to think that the City of Victoria is to be considered the main source of grants to these organizations but they do have a role to play.
Your own 2012 study also defines the substantial economic activity generated by the Greater Victoria arts and cultural sector. “Arts spending is fantastic at creating employment: for every $30,000 or so spent on the arts, one more person gets a job” (The Atlantic, July 1, 2009). This in itself is the best reason for the City to support the arts community.
Victoria’s arts community should be aware that only through responsible fiscal management at City Hall will financial support be available from this source. There should be concern that the impact of project cost overruns and the substantial increases in salary expenditures will ultimately oblige the City to look at its arts and culture budget for savings. The recent example of Detroit’s arts community, amongst others, should be referenced as a case in point. In the end, fiscal management at City Hall will determine the rise or fall of City funding towards Victoria’s arts community.
3. My campaign proposes the following measures to benefit the growth of the Arts in the City of Victoria and the CRD:
1) The CRD and the City of Victoria should take a communications lead to ensure the Victoria community is fully informed as to the contribution of arts and culture to Victoria’s social and economic fabric. It is well-known that public awareness generates interest and participation.
2) The CRD should ensure that a regular ongoing forum is created for business and the arts to meet and exchange ideas towards encouraging continued & steady investment in the arts.
3) The City of Victoria could work with downtown property owners to help revitalize the downtown core by providing artists, artisans, craftspeople and community groups to present quality projects in empty stores while they remain unoccupied. “Renew Newcastle” (renewnewcastle.org/property-owners) has been a successful application of this strategy in Newcastle, Australia.
4) The creation of some low-rent arts incubation centres to encourage local arts and make the Victoria region more attractive to tourists should be promoted.
5) If the region is to remain attractive to those whose livelihood relies on the Arts, then the taxes of both the city and the Capital Region’s must be kept in check, otherwise making the region unaffordable and forcing them to move elsewhere. Continued support for the construction of affordable housing would help towards encouraging young, emerging arts & culture residents to stay.
Stephen Andrew, City of Victoria, Candidate for Mayor
1. I have worked as a professional theatre director, stage manager, actor, and fundraiser.
2. I believe investment in the Arts provides a huge economic benefit and return to our community. I will advocate for additional funding for Victoria based companies through new revenue streams – not an increase in property taxes.
3. I believe Arts and Culture is an integral part of our identity. As such, I will appoint a councillor to focus on Arts and Culture to encourage more festivals and events. The councillor will be responsible for working with the community to develop arts policy to move the city forward.
This will include:
Responsibility for communicating with ProArt and other arts organizations.
Sitting on the board of the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society.
Leadership across the region to collaboratively develop and improve arts policy.
Promotion of events and festivals at all city owned venues through digital signs (similar to programs that already exist in New York and other major centres). Wherever people congregate they will have access to what is playing in our city.
The City Web Site should be used as a landing site for all events in the city. This could be a banner on the city web site linked to an inclusive web platform with information and ticketing options.
I would like to explore the feasibility to establish a permanent portable multi-purpose built venue that can be moved around the harbour and the Gorge Waterway and shared by numerous groups. The venue would allow groups the share the cost of the venue (i.e. Stage for Symphony Splash, staging and bar area for Jazz Fest, additional space for Dragon Boat Festival) and allow groups in the city to create additional opportunities.
Erik Kaye, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor and CRD Director
1. What is your previous experience with the Arts?
- Played drums and wrote lyrics for a rock band in my teens and early 20s
- Former Communications Director at Movement for Canadian Literacy (1994-1996) – engagement with book industry to promote literacy programs and initiatives to a broad audience
- Regular theatre patron at local venues (Belfry, Phoenix, Royal, Langham Court, McPherson)
- Parent of a child who takes art lessons at the Paint Box and has visited the Victoria Art Gallery.
2. If elected to Council, I would push to maintain Victoria’s role as a full contributor to the CRD Arts Development Service, including operating grants, project grants and IDEA grants.
3. If elected to the CRD Board, I would work with member municipalities to devise an improved funding formula that provides support to arts organizations and projects in every CRD municipality.
I will be voting YES to the referendum on reducing the number of municipalities in the Capital Region, in order to facilitate greater coordination and support for key regional priorities like the arts.
Geoff Young, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I am an occasional attender at local theatre productions and museums. My spouse and I have been supporters of the Belfry and the Art Gallery, and my spouse has served on the Board of each.
2. City taxpayers make a substantial contribution to the arts through various performance grants and funding, through CRD Arts Development Funding, and through property tax exemptions to individual groups. Some of our assistance is indirect – for example, the City owns the Fernwood Community Association building at 1923 Fernwood, which in turn is the landlord for Theatre Inconnu.
City taxpayers are also contributors through the city’s partial ownership of the Royal Theatre and full ownership of the McPherson. The contribution of city taxpayers to the McPherson is $750,000 per year (not including the property tax exemption), almost equal to our contribution to Arts Development funding of $831,000 (2013). Thus it represents a substantial proportion of our total funding to the arts sector. Some are not aware of this because the funding flows through CRD taxation and is approved at the CRD – thus it has received less attention from City council than items that appear in the City’s budget (I even notice that some of the respondents to this questionnaire from other municipalities were under the impression that their taxpayers contribute to the McPherson). Unfortunately, despite the substantial contribution by taxpayers, costs charged to groups using the theatre are so high that they have discouraged usage, and many nights are dark, at the same time that some groups have developed other performance space. As usage falls the fixed costs of the facility must be borne by a smaller number of remaining users. At some point the burden on the City will become disproportionate to the benefit to the arts community.
I would like to see an active discussion among the users, including the professional arts groups, non-professional groups, and occasional users, to determine whether the current system is the best way for the city to provide this assistance.
3. I expect City assistance to the arts to continue in the future, since they represent a valued part both of our quality of life and of our attraction to visitors. As with all City spending, continual review of the effectiveness of our expenditure is to be expected.
Ida Chong, City of Victoria, Candidate for Mayor
1. My previous experience with the ARTS?
During my term as’municipal councillor’, I served on the “Inter Municipal Committee” that was responsible for distributing a limited amount of grants to arts and culture groups in the CRD.
As a provincial legislator, I served as the Opposition Critic for “Arts and Culture” and fought to protect the provincial grants, including meeting with the various organizations to ensure their issues got attention during the BUDGET debates. Eventually, as a government member I was appointed a Cabinet Minister portfolio that included ARTS & CULTRUE as well as responsibility for “gaming grants”. I worked hard to ensure Greater Victoria Organizations rceived amounts that supported their operations as well as looked for extra dollars for speical events. In addition, I encouraged and found financial support for new projects to help kick-start their event.
2. Will I support increased investment? If so how?
During a campaign I would not wish to promise increased investment without understanding what “unintended consequences” may result. Before committing to increased support, I would prefer to know what additional benefits taxpayers could expect to ensure strong value for money. I do believe the arts and culture sector is a significant economic driven and supports/creates jobs. My support would be to look at increasing the opportunities for more festivals, events, and major undertakings that augment our tourism sector. In cases such as this, financial support is warranted and partnership with other levels of government as well from the private sector should be pursued.
3. What does the campaign propose for the future of the arts in CRD?
The future of arts in the CRD means ensuring sustainability-not just financial, but physical spaces for performances and for rehearsals. I would expect that while Victoria is the heart of the region, all surrounding municipalities also benefit from a successful arts and culture hub and I would seek better collaboration and financial partnerships.
Marianne Alto, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I’m a lifelong fan of art, performance and experimentation wherever it occurs. For the last 10 years I’ve been closely involved with the dance community as my now 16-year-old son is a passionate student of dance (ballet, tap, contemporary, modern and jazz). As a parent, volunteer and occasional board member, I’ve been immersed in the dance world, its passions and struggles. I look to the arts for solace, for critical thought and for inspiration.
2. Yes. I know the value of arts to our community. My platform includes a commitment to invest in arts and culture. The first step I will take is to convene an arts and culture summit where artists, performers, residents and allies come together and collaborate on a re-visioning for artistic Victoria. It’s been a while since we did this. Before acting arbitrarily on my own ideas, I want to take advice from those whose lives are dedicated to creating and supporting the arts. That said, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of creating an Arts Precinct, like what seems to be naturally and organically developing in upper Fernwood with the Gallery, the Belfry, Vic High performance space, Victoria School of Art (and the potential future use of Sundance school) and small galleries in the area.
3. While my concept of an arts and culture summit would start with the City of Victoria, it must expand to the region, as so many of our artists work across boundaries and in collaboration. I do think we should take a careful look at the CRD Arts Development Service, its Arts Committee and Arts Advisory Council to ensure that is the best model to ensure financial and related support for the arts. A history of chronic underfunding means we must recognize that the current arts situation is delicate, demands stability and a thoughtful and measured approach to any changes. While I want to make sure that change and growth occurs, the changes must first improve arts organizations’ ability to plan for a healthy future.
Jonathan Carroll, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I’ve always been a big fan of the arts, and it’s always something that has held a special place for me. I love paintings and sculptures, and all of the lovely things that brilliant people are able to create and share; from books to photography, and from opera to carving. I’ve always been a great appreciator of those artists who are willing to create their works, and then share something so deeply private and profound with the rest of the world. Now that being said, I’ve always been something of an amateur when it comes to the arts. I am not as widely versed as I would like to be in the traditions and intricacies that make up the art world and its proud history; and I am considerably more an amateur when it comes to creating any art of my own. Ever since I was lucky enough to have the chance to study the cello through the schools here in victoria, I have been captivated by music, and it is there that I have focused most of my efforts. Musical theater has been a particular hobby of mine over the years, and quite a number of my friends are involved in various ways with the Pacific Opera Company here in town.
2. I would support increased investment in the arts. I believe that victoria is a world class city, and that we have a great artistic community, that I would like to see flourish even more than they already have. I would, myself, like to see more programs for everyday people of all ages to get involved in. From children to seniors, I’d love to see more instruction, more workshops, and more ongoing programmes that people can sign up for. My goal would be to get more people engaged, and then have established communities that they can become a part of once they have had a taste of the cultural opportunities in the city. As an additional note I would love to see more focus on the traditional first nations cultures unique to our area and more involvement with education and involvement of people with the traditional cultures and art styles of the people of this land.
3. In 2011 32 organizations received CRD operating grant assistance. These organizations employed 118 full-time staff and 506 part- time or contract staff, provided work for 2229 artists, produced 731 workshops attended by 37,868 people and produced 1948 events with total attendance of 645,716 . That’s a fantastic start, but I think that like in all aspects of government, there is always more we can do. With help from our fellow municipalities in the area, we can work on a larger scale to do more good. There has been a lot of focus in recent years on theater and similar performance arts, and while I think that is fantastic, and should by no means be stopping, I would like to see a broader range of groups benefiting from the opportunities that the CRD can offer.
Lisa Helps, City of Victoria, Candidate for Mayor
1. I have been involved in the arts since a very young age. I went to a performing arts school in London Ontario from grade five to grade eight where, in addition to the regular school curriculum, students took strings, vocal and drama with ample opportunities to perform in the community and compete in festivals. In high school I was a member of the Amabile Youth Singers, a nationally renowned girls choir that toured internationally and recorded a number of albums. As an adult, I have published poetry and participated in read at poetry readings. Through these experiences, I learned at a very young age that participating in the arts builds community, creates joy, and gives people a sense of empowerment and confidence.
In Victoria for the past almost twenty years I’ve taken in many arts and culture activities from the Ballet to Buskers Fest and everything in between. I’ve supported youth arts initiatives in my role as the City of Victoria Youth Council Liaison including helping to create Canada’s first Youth Poet Laureate, supporting the Pedal Box Gallery and the Arts Mentorship project where youth council members work to match older artists as mentors to younger ones.
2. The arts and culture scene in Victoria is booming, as the economic analysis provided to all candidates outlines. And it’s also changing with a new generation of artists emerging. The Art Gallery is now complemented by the Pedal Box Gallery. Rifflandia, Buskers Fest and many new festivals exist alongside Ballet Victoria, the Opera and the Symphony.
From listening to people in the arts community I’ve come to understand that Victoria has an amazing wealth of musical and artistic talent, and that City Hall needs to do more to support this. Especially for young and emerging artists – many move away to bigger cities where there are more opportunities and they don’t have to pay the increasingly high cost of ferries to share their talents. I want Victoria to become a cultural destination for music and the arts, to retain our culture and really support and foster its growth. I think we can be the most creative city in Canada. Arts and culture nourish the human spirit, create economic opportunity and make a city vibrant.
If elected, I will appoint a “Creative City Cabinet” to advise mayor and Council on the creation of an Arts and Culture Masterplan to proactively support the future of arts and culture in the City for 20 years. The cabinet will be comprised of emerging and established artists, musicians, event producers, venue owners, and others. We need to acknowledge the impact of generational change in the creative sector. City Hall has a role to play in leading this change and ensuring that the City’s foundational arts and culture institutions can continue to flourish while also supporting an emerging scene.
3. I think the CRD Operating Grants, Idea Grants and Project grants available to organizations in the eight municipalities that contribute provide a good diversity of funding that is open to a range of organizations for a variety of purposes. I like the variety of grants available because, as noted above, supporting emerging artists and new ideas is key to the future success of the arts in the City of Victoria and the capital region.
Like Cairine Green (Oak Bay Candidate for Mayor, quoted above), I would like to broaden the tent and work with my colleagues in other municipalities to bring all 13 municipalities into the CRD arts funding model. I think this would serve to enhance the arts and culture sector across the region and build better relationships among arts organizations.
Finally, in terms of funding, I propose to maintain Victoria’s contribution to the CRD arts funding, including the Royal and McPherson Theatres. In addition, as Geoff Young, Council Candidate for the City of Victoria notes, we need to work with the Royal and McPherson Theatre Society and the organizations that use these venues to ensure a sustainable model going forward for both the theatres and the organizations.
Sean Murray, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. experience with the arts, very little except that some of my friends are artists.
2. how to invest in the arts, Lets look at Vincent Van Gogh, he only sold one painting in his life but now his work is worth up to one billion dollars. I feel the province should put artists on a salary, not big, but enough to live on. They should be required to produce at least 45 paintings a year, and if they can not sell them they should be asked to give them away at a free art fair not more than one per customer. This would give them income security and a chance to make a name for themselves.
3. the future of the arts in the C.R.D. If our artists are on salary, Victoria could flourish.
Charlayne Thornton-Joe, City of Victoria, Candidate for Councillor
1. I enjoy going to performances (especially music) and visiting galleries and museums. As the organizer of Canada Day celebrations for the last 14 years, I have made sure that our stage showcases Canadian acts that reflect the diversity of our community. I have also been involved with supporting the arts by having murals created in Chinatown, had our buskers bylaw changed to include chalk art in it and as a member of the Victoria Chinatown Lioness Club have chaired an author’s banquet every year to bring writers on Chinese history and culture to town such as Wayson Choy, Jan Wong, Denise Chong, Lisa See and many others. This gives us an opportunity to promote Chinese History and Culture but also to celebrate many writers. On the 50thAnniversary of the making of the movie The World of Suzie Wong, I brought Actor Nancy Kwan to Victoria to talk about her life as one of the first Asians in a Hollywood movie. On Council I have spoken in support of having a poet laureate and ensured that our youth poet laureate was also funded by the City. Also, to raise funds for Dance Victoria, I participated in a “Dancing with the Stars” event fundraiser! I also was in a National Film Board Documentary called “From Harling Point.” I am also on the Advisory Board of KCTS 9 Television.
2. Yes. I will continue the activities that I currently am involved with. The Arts are important to our community and we need to continue to support and invest in it.
3. I want to continue the work that I currently am involved with and look forward to learning how I can support the Arts even more!
Dean Fortin, City of Victoria, Candidate for Mayor
1. As Executive Director of the Burnside Gorge Community Association, I worked with local artists and residents to develop a number of community-led art projects that continue to define the neighbourhood today. Every day, thousands of commuters and residents enjoy the Burnside and Gorge Road murals, which brighten the Galloping Goose Trail, showcase our city’s rich history and prevent graffiti. I have seen firsthand the positive and trans-formative impact the arts can have for neighbourhoods and its residents. As Mayor, I have supported programs and grants that develop the local arts.
Victoria is filled with talent. As Mayor, it has been a tremendous honour to meet some of our city’s remarkable artists, learn about unique local projects and attend our many arts events – sometimes even from on stage. Every successful city has a thriving arts community, and Victoria is no exception.
As the father of a young artist, I know that the arts need to be nurtured to really thrive, and I am committed to continue supporting Victoria’s artists and thriving arts scene.
2. I support increased investment in the arts, and I will continue to advocate to increase the number of municipalities who participate on the CRD ArtsCommittee.
When it was suggested that he cut funding to the arts to pay for Britain’s war, Winston Churchill is reported to have responded, “Then what would we be fighting for?”
I have consistently supported investment in the arts, even when we were looking for opportunities to tighten our belts at City Hall. I believe that the arts are critical to quality of life for all residents and that we have a responsibility to support them – especially during times of austerity. As the economy improves, and the City’s tax base grows, we will have even greater capacity to support the arts and I look forward to working with the arts community to identify the areas where we can have the greatest impact.
I have supported ongoing investment in the arts through City grants and CRD arts funding, as well as operating and capital funds to the Royal and McPherson Theatres. I fought hard to protect – and expand – the Permissive Tax Exemption that many of our arts organizations rely on.
3. Heritage Canada has recognized Victoria as a Cultural Capital, and it is important that we continue to nurture and support the arts to ensure that we continue to live up to this honourable title.
I will advocate for greater support from neighbouring municipalities for the CRD Arts Committee. Victoria’s residents should not be alone in supporting the arts that benefit residents from every municipality.
I will continue to support the expansion of local art events, such as Rifflandia and the the Fringe Festival, and I will advocate for new artists and events such as the Break Out West Music Festival which was recently announced will be coming to Victoria in 2015.
Town of View Royal
David Screech, Town of View Royal, Candidate for Mayor
1. Chair of the CRD Arts committee and a long time supporter of arts in the region.
2. Yes, I would like to see us bring more jurisdictions on board as full funders in the coming years.
3. There is nothing specific in my campaign but I was instrumental in bringing View Royal in as a full funder to the CRD Arts service and will continue to promote the arts.
Mark Brennan, Town of View Royal, Candidate for Councillor
1. In the broadest sense I am a part of the arts community myself as I am a writer, a journalist in the music field, a music reviewer, a promoter of local musicians and acts, plus I am a composer and spoken word artist myself.
2. The arts are vital to the cultural health of a community, so I fully support local government funding in this regard. At present View Royal’s involvement is limited, but it can be increased in creative ways.
3. Funding of the arts is a fundamental concern of mine. I intend to pursue ways in which local governments can be more proactive, both in working with higher levels of government in existing programs, and also in taking the initiative through our recreation services and our grant-in-aid policies.
John Rogers, Town of View Royal, Candidate for Councillor
1. I have always supported View Royal’s participation as one of the 8 municipalities in the CRD Arts Development Service. I am pleased the Arts Service has 3 funding programs both for operating support as well as emerging arts in the region. The Arts Committee and Advisory Council have accomplished so much in supporting and promoting awareness and development of artistic skills. Finally, the Arts Service endevours to promote art experience for youth.
2. Each participating municipality contributes funds on a pro-rated basis. I would be in favour of annual reviews to increase the funding levels. More importantly, however, I would hope that all 13 municipalities would equitably participate, much like the CRD Park Acquisition fund.
3. I propose that there be a concerted effort to lobby each and every municipality to join the CRD Arts Development Service. Every resident enjoys the cultural benefits and extraordinary talent of our regional artists. It makes sense for all to join forces and contribute.
Ron Mattson, Town of View Royal, Candidate for Councillor
1. Very little experience. Although I did vote in support of providing a grant to one of the theatres, and have supported other motions over the years. View Royal does participate as one of the 8 municipalities in the CRD Arts Development Service.
2. I would like to see the town hold a contest for works of art that could be displayed on our Town’s two main streets (Island Highway and Helmcken) for a period of time with residents of the town voting on the works and having the town purchase the winner for permanent display.
3. My campaign is silent on funding for the Art in the CRD. However, if I am elected I will propose the contest noted above.