Yesterday (October 23), Guelph Arts Council asked mayoral, council and school board trustee candidates to tell us about their position on the arts. This is what they had to say.

Mayoral Candidates’ Responses

Karen Farbridge said on Twitter:

“@guelpharts The #arts community in #Guelph is stunning & a big part of what makes us a brilliant city to live in #ArtsVote #GuelphFactor”

Cam Guthrie said on Twitter:

“@guelpharts As an artist who has worked along arts groups in #Guelph, I know the value they give to our city & they have my support!”

and “@guelpharts I’m a big supporter of the arts in Guelph. We’re fortunate to enjoy so much local talent and such a vibrant arts culture!”

Ward Candidates’ Responses

Maria Pezzano (Ward 1) said on Facebook: “Hi there here is my blog post for Arts and Culture…/arts-and</a>…

James Gordon (Ward 2) said on Facebook: “Our artists and art consumers are at the heart of our city identity. If we find ways for our cultural sector to thrive and prosper, our whole city thrives and prospers too!”

Martin Collier (Ward 2) said on Facebook: “Being a long time musician, I totally support the arts — see my bold ideas to promote what Guelph has to offer:

Sian Matwey (Ward 2) emailed to say:

“My name is Sian Matwey and I am the only female running in Ward 2 but what I wanted to tell you is what I am doing downtown Guelph with the people we feed at the Life Center….last year we fed 26,000 people in the basement of the Royal City Church.

But now I have brought my old Charity to them so we can use some of our “clients” to help paint murals. Here’s a link to that page and an old article about how I am doing my part to support art.</a>

Thanks for all you do and if you live in my ward hopefully you will consider voting for me too!!”

June Hofland (Ward 3) emailed to “reinforce [her] strong support for Guelph’s arts and culture.”

“I will continue to support the work of the Guelph’s Arts Council.  I understand the vibrancy the arts brings to our community and of course how much it adds to the economic health of our community. I was also a small business owner for 12 years and understand the challenges of running a small local business. In closing I will work together to make Guelph one of Canada’s great creative cities!!  (Not my words I believe you said this at one of our council meetings).Thanks also to you [Guelph Arts Council] for your contributions you should be very proud of your work and your presence in our city.”*

*Guelph Arts Council has made minor edits for continuity.

Laurie Garbutt (Ward 4) emailed to say: “I want to express the driving force for my decision to move to Guelph 11 years ago. I’ve always been crazy about the arts: my degree is a Special Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts (composition and ethnomusicology). I was at a point in my life when I needed to pursue new and rewarding creative outlets. I was lured to Guelph’s vast array of artistic opportunities and participation was available to all. I began my new artistic journey! Here are just a few of Guelph’s attractions for me (and barely touching on the multitude of arts and culture activities in Guelph):

– enjoying local artisans of various creative disciplines, from outdoor contemporary dance (in a tree, accompanied by digeridoo), to pianos on downtown streets for any and all to play,

– top caliber musicals put on by Royal City Musical Productions twice yearly (I sang and danced in several choruses, musically directed approx. 11 shows, sat on the Board of Directors (including as VP and Co-president)

– Guelph Little Theatre: acting and musically directing

– providing my son with the means and skills to perform in many shows, from the age of 5

– the Guelph Multicultural Festival, Canada Day performances at Riverside Park, enjoying evenings in the park with the Guelph Concert Band, The 100K Diet,

– watching the creation of Guelph Community Singers and, the Guelph Arts Platform

– dance schools, Suzuki, Barber Glass Gallery, Gateway Strings, James Gordon

– the River Run Centre. Hillside Festival, Wow. Need I say more?

Do I support arts and culture? It’s why I came here and why I love the place. This is an appreciative and nurturing artistic community. Let’s keep this growing!”

School Board Trustees

Rob McLean said on Facebook: “Whew – thanks for the link – 140 characters on Twitter was tough. I just noted there that I believe arts education is absolutely critical to child development, and as a trustee candidate, that will be one of my primary guides in decision-making. However, I also believe that support for the arts is essential for municipal candidates, not only for the obvious social benefits of a thriving arts community, but because of the proven economic benefits too. I’ll address these economic benefits, since that is often the perceived barrier to arts support. As a sector, arts & culture represents a huge economic engine in Canada – much larger than many standard pillars of municipal, regional and national GDP (such as forestry, for one example at the national level). Arts & culture is not some kind of money pit (as some politicians will try to make you believe) but a net revenue generator. Even fully subsidized arts programs return over twice the investment they receive to their communities through salaries, expenses, re-investment, taxes, events, and revenue generation. Arts & Culture isn’t just good for the soul – it’s good for the economy too, with benefits that directly accrue to social and environmental good. Arts support isn’t a “nice-to-have” – it is essential, and if a candidate doesn’t understand this math, then I question their ability to represent their constituency well.”

Susan Moziar said on Facebook: “Arts, music, drama all play an integral part in a child’s education just as much as reading writing and math. Besides, I have a daughter in law who is an accomplished artist. Had to share this piece called Ginger’s Birthday Party. She also part owner of an art gallery in Oakville called Yes, so definitely support the arts. #guelphvotes #Guelph”

Linda Busuttil said on Facebook: “Thank you Sonia for the conversation [on the phone!] about my personal value of the arts and culture, as a family we strongly believe that the arts provide another way that our children can explore, understand and express themselves and their place in the community and world. As a family we have been involved with the arts as consumers and supporters, the Suzuki String School, Orff Music, Youth Orchestra, Guelph Youth Dance Training Program/Company, as a community volunteer I was involved with the development of the Guelph Youth Music Centre, and as a parent volunteer with the school curriculum Art IMAGE program.

Speaking now as a current Trustee I see the value of the arts reflected in the UGDSB schools who have individually and collectively promoted skill appreciation, development and engagement. There are many examples that immediately come to mind: Shakespeare on Wheels which was brought to Mitchell Woods PS, Ottawa Cres PS worked with Michael Cywink with assistance from the Aboriginal Artists in Schools program, the Victory PS Art Crawl, the Willow Road PS student art/craft sale, Dufferin Youth Arts Festival, and many secondary Arts & Culture Specialist High Skills Major initiatives.

I feel that the UGDSB system as a whole encourages and supports the arts! Is there room to do more? Always!”

We thank those who took the time to respond, and we encourage everyone to continue the conversation, and candidates to continue to reply today and over the weekend. Any responses we receive on Facebook, Twitter and by email ([email protected]) will be summarized on Monday.

Just remember to get out and vote!

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