If elected how would you support the arts on Council?
Having grown up in Guelph, I have had the pleasure of helping get many cultural initiatives off the ground. This includes being the first office volunteer for the Hillside Festival, and a Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator for the Guelph Jazz Festival in its second year. I also volunteered for many of the early years of the Eden Mills Writers Festival. I am still a volunteer with one of these festivals, the others a patron. I have also been a guide for Doors Open, made a clay tile for the Enabling Garden, participated in many a Musagetes focus group and event. As a Co-coordinator of Jane’s Walk Guelph, we have always ensured that Jane’s Walks have included walks that share about the arts and culture of Guelph. These have included but are not limited to dance, spoken word, the Public Art of Downtown, music, the guitar (and stories behind the wood it is made from) made by Doug Larson and graffiti. I love going to see local artists work whether at Art on the Street, in their studio, hanging in a local restaurant or gallery, and I own a variety of pieces of art.
I believe that the arts and culture of a city are critical to a vibrant quality of life, and the health of a community. It is this quality of life that attracts industry and investment to an area because, these are places where people want to live and work. So, if I were to be elected to Council, I would
- continue to support all of the initiatives already offered by the City of Guelph: from grants to generators; water trucks; artist in residence, partnerships with groups such as the Art Council and beautiful spaces like Market Square
- encourage an increase to the amounts available for grants and split the Wellbeing Grant, to include an Arts and Culture Grant
- advocate for an artist hub and incubator space (too long overdue) and, as was done with the Guelph Youth Music Centre, use a building already owned by the City of Guelph to create this space
- encourage the Chamber of Commerce, Innovation Guelph, Economic development Guelph, and Tourism Guelph to work with and support the Guelph Black Heritage Society in their endeavor to make Heritage Hall an accessible community space for arts, culture and history (like 918 Bathurst, TO) and, later for those groups to do the same with the above mentioned artist hub and incubator space
- encourage the same groups to entice a for profit landlord or developer, to create an art centre like 401 Richmond, TO which has a gallery, studio space, restaurant and garden – a tourist destination
- continue to provide funding for the City of Guelph to hire artists to create public art, or performances
- present a motion for an Arts and Culture Master Plan that will build on Guelph’s current cultural resources, vibrant community and collaborative community partnerships. It should be the guiding document that continues to elevate Guelph as a destination for creativity, innovation, and excellence in the arts. A master plan that would also highlight the challenges faced by members of the arts and culture community in Guelph. And, provide solutions to these challenges.