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The Results are In... Now What? How to Follow Through on Supporting the Arts

Happy post-election day to all the candidates, voters, and citizens in Guelph! It has been a particularly long campaign season and on behalf of Guelph Arts Council staff and Board of Directors, I would like to congratulate all nominees and those who were selected by their fellow citizens to lead and initiate change for Guelph residents for the next four years.

 

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Over the course of the election Guelph Arts Council led the local ArtsVote campaign. While we have been engaging with candidates throughout the election, we took to social media last week to invite candidates to discuss how they would work to support arts and culture over the next four years. These results were assembled and posted on our website. While a good majority of the candidates responded with their support of arts and culture, few posted a real platform that included how they intended to help strengthen the cultural sector over the course of their term.

With this in mind, I think that citizens and the arts community have great opportunity over the next four years to tell our new and re-elected leaders how important the arts are to our community. While most candidates acknowledged their support of arts and culture, few know how to best support the sector.

For artists and arts supporters, it is well known that arts and culture drive tourism, support the local economy, create jobs, engage community, initiate change, and promote good health. As a citizen, supporting the arts comes in many forms—attendance of local events and initiatives, purchasing the work of local musicians, artists, and community groups, volunteering, information sharing, contributing to fundraising initiatives, membership, and good old fashioned donating. As an elected leader, stating that you like the arts isn't enough. As a member of the arts community, I can say that we need the support of council as we push through another season of great events and art. But we can't leave it up to our leaders; we need to do our duty as citizens to let the Mayor and Council know about the strength, resilience, and value that the arts bring to Guelph.

Over the course of the previous four years, we have had some very strong leaders in office who have worked hard to enhance the capacity of the arts and culture sector in Guelph. What the ArtsVote campaign demonstrated is that we have some truly supportive and innovative thinkers who will push the arts agenda forward. Over the next four years, let's keep arts active around the horseshoe. Let's, as a community, invite our elected leaders to events, ask them to help promote the arts to their community through their networks, and help us as we work together to make Guelph one of Canada's great creative communities.

Thank you to everyone who helped us connect with candidates to show their support of the arts and thank you to all those who took the time to respond to us via twitter, Facebook, phone, email, and connecting with us in person. I look forward to connecting and working with each and every Council member to keep the conversation and support for the arts alive in Guelph.

Sonya Poweska

Executive Director

#ArtsVote Weekend Update - What will your candidates do for the arts?


Over the weekend, the #ArtsVote conversations between our candidates and the community grew and multiplied on Twitter and Facebook.  While we couldn’t include here every comment and reply made by each candidate, here are the replies they made to the request that they state their position on the arts. Longer conversations that were sparked can be seen on our Twitter page https://twitter.com/guelpharts. Full replies that were posted on Facebook and sent via email are quoted here as well.

Don't see the candidate you're looking for? Don't forget to read our summary of the earlier responses in Friday's article http://guelpharts.ca/artsvote-responses

Mayoral Candidates' Responses

Karen Farbridge said on Facebook: “Arts, Culture & Heritage is integral to #Guelph’s social fabric and critical to our economy. As such, the The Corporation of the City of Guelph has created a citizen Cultural Advisory Committee and a Cultural Mapping Project. We have also established a division at City Hall with resources dedicated to Culture and Tourism and Cultural Development. I will continue to support artists and arts groups in Guelph and continue to grow our policies in their support. Guelph is particularly rich with creativity.

Organizations critical to celebrating who we are as a city speak for themselves:

Guelph Arts Council

Guelph Tourism and Culture at City of Guelph River Run Centre

Ed Video Media Arts Centre Musagetes

10 Carden

Guelph Creative Arts Association

Guelph Youth Council Guelph Youth Music Centre (GYMC)

JamSchool Music Lessons, Recording School and Retail in Guelph

Guelph Culture Map

Guelph Public Library(s)

Guelph Civic Museum

Guelph Fab 5 (Hillside Festival, Guelph Jazz Festival, Guelph Dance , Guelph Film Fest, Eden Mills Writers’ Festival)

The Bookshelf

guelPhonography

The Potters Market Guelph & District Multicultural Festival Inc.

Kazoo! Fest

CFRU 93.3 FM, GAIN Music Fortnight Music Music Lives

Programming at and by businesses, City of Guelph, Downtown Guelph, our community centres

Boarding House Arts Incubator

Countless Individual Artists

Guelph Music Fest, Kiwanis Club of Guelph- #KCG

** With apologies to any groups that have been left off this list.

#ArtsVote #YES”

 

 

Ward Candidates' Responses

 

Dan Gibson (Ward 1) said on Twitter: @guelpharts supporting local art scene by maximizing Sleeman Ctr / River Run is central to my vision for D/T renewal http://dangibson.ca/2014/09/downtown-renewal

 

Karolyne Pickett (Ward 1) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts Didn't receive your candidate questionnaire... Pls check out my post about designating The Ward as Guelph's Art District!”

 

Craig Chamberlain (Ward 3) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts #Guelph If elected I would work with the arts community to implement an Art Exchange which would include instruments, art supplies, tools, sheet music, costumes etc and we’ll find people to tune and restore. We’ll get them back out into the community, into the hand of those who want them, need them & maybe can’t otherwise afford them. We could call it the Guelph Art Exchange.”

 

Bob Moore (Ward 3) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts facilitate access to studio and performance/exhibit space for artists' co- ops through property tax reduction”

 

Phil Allt (Ward 3) said on Facebook and in an email: "The following is my unequivocal support for the arts in Guelph. As a part board member of the Guelph Arts Council, past Treasurer of the Guelph Jazz Festival with a background in arts history and as a patron of the arts, I am only too happy stand up for Arts in Guelph. Our lives are improved when cities and citizens support the arts. Historically the arts have been part of everything from the Olympics to celebrations of Canada's and Guelph's rich history. To support the Arts is to remember the tremendous contributions of authors like Tom King, musicians like Tannis Slimmon and Craig Norris, painters like Scott Abott and potters like Bunny Safari and Goldie Sherman. Let's keep the arts alive for all to celebrate. Warmest Regards, Phil Allt"

 

Gary Walton (Ward 4) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts @GaryWalton2014 anybody that knows me knows that I am very supportive of the arts”

 

Rob Dunn-Dufault (Ward 4) said on Twitter: “.@guelpharts I've written my thoughts about art in general, and art in our community here: http://dunndufault.weebly.com/blog  #guelphvotes #ArtsVote”

 

Scott Tracey (Ward 4) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts I will work with local groups (incl GAC of course) to continue supporting the local arts scene and those involved with it.”

 

Aaron Blair (Ward 4) said on Facebook: "Arts are integral to a vibrant community. Music, dance, literature, visual art all are ingrained in our DNA as means to share stories and our experiences that shape us as a people and society. As a species we began by sharing pictures on rock. In school arts are transferable to numerous subjects: music is math and history, dance is physical education, literature is history, visual art is math and science and much more. Art inspires the imagination which influences invention. Many of our scientific exploits are rooted in some form of art that inspired us to achieve. Arts are also the great cultural bridge. Songs, literature, art and dance teach us about each others' culture and helps create understanding and an appreciation of our diversity as a people. Art is integral in our city, schools and lives. It is the building blocks of who we are. "

 

Mike Salisbury (Ward 4) said on Twitter “@guelpharts @ward4guelph has always been a strong supporter of the arts and will continue to do so”

 

Cathy Downer (Ward 5) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts come from family of artists, have always supported and volunteered in Arts community#guelphvotes #ArtsVote”

 

Alex Green (Ward 5) @guelpharts I'd make more wall space available in city buildings for local artists to display their work. #ArtsVote #guelphvotes

 

Scott Butler (Ward 5) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts This is going to be hard to do on Twitter. Anywho: 1. Make cultural events & institutions 1 of 3 planks of new tourism strategy.

2. Charge the Guelph Twinning Committee to explore any & all opportunities to partner with likeminded cities... Indie music (Strathallan = T in the Park). Same for dance (Svetvincenat, Croatia), jazz (Yamanashi Prefecture) etc

3. Make the arts a 'deliverable' with quantifiable metrics within Economic Development.

4. Be more aggressive marketing @sleemancentre & @riverruncentre. Need to beat others to punch on getting acts in b4 TO.

5. Small symbolic steps like AustinTX has taken to embrace arts. City Hall and muni venues showcasing local talent. Why not a gigantic @DeanPalmerPhoto, Ahlers, Morton, Shuebrook in lobby @ City Hall? Because we haven't prioritized.

6. Culinary arts. Our food scene should be ON's San Sebastian or Napa Valley. Need to do this quickly. And food trucks. Please.

7. Make sure City equitable partner with Five Festivals, @Uofg & newcomers like INCLINEΔDECLINE. Collaboration = opportunity.

8. Leverage the abundance of creative writers in this city. 2 of last 3 GG Literature Winners have Guelph ties.”

 

Mark McKinnon (Ward 6) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts Like city to reduce/eliminate fees for non-profit art groups to use city facilities for events. Also, book more RRC/SS events.”

 

Keith Poore (Ward 6) said on Twitter: “@guelpharts Oh sorry. I would like to see more art festivals. Maybe film fest? We could display local art work at city hall. Nuit Blanche in #Guelph would be fantastic.

@guelpharts finding optimal use of the Sleeman Centre also a great way to expand arts in #Guelph

@guelpharts would love to see comedy scene expand too. @themakingboxco doing great job!”

See more of the conversation around Nuit Blanche, River Run/Sleeman Cenre and Guelph Film Festival (including comments from Keith Poore, Dan Gibson, and members of the arts community) here: https://twitter.com/LynnBeSocial/status/525700811691941888 and here: https://twitter.com/steven_petric/status/525709103579279360 and here: https://twitter.com/Kate_in_Guelph/status/525692232603799552

Consider Your Candidates

With an election looming, there are a wealth of issues that are being addressed by candidates and citizens alike. Each of the candidates are taking time to address the issues that have been brought up in the debates, newspaper articles, individual candidate platforms, and social media discussions that have taken place in the last few weeks.

What should you bring up when reviewing your candidates?

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As artists, art supporters, and community members, it is our duty to ask our candidates where they stand on issues that are important to us. Here, at the arts council, it is no surprise that the arts and culture sector is of prime importance as it is central to all we do. When speaking with the many candidates about their own platform to support the creative industries, I think it is very important that we as citizens reflect back to our candidates that arts and culture are not simply leisure activities. As a sector, we add to the vibrancy of community, we tell the story of our community members, and as artists, arts administrators, and creative thinkers, we add to the economic health of our community. Too often, contributions, payments, and purchases made to support artists and arts organizations are likened to handouts. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. Artists are small businesses and contributors to the enterprising landscape of Guelph. More broadly speaking, Statistics Canada reports that $53.2 billion is contributed to the GDP by our cultural sector annually[1]. This number can be applied locally and the effects are felt by other businesses including hotels, restaurants, retail, and other attractions. In fact, a report commissioned by the Ontario Arts Council states that the average Ontario arts and culture tourist spends twice as much per trip as does a typical tourist – $667 per trip versus $374[2].

But it isn't just dollars and cents with the arts. Those of us who have experienced the power of arts can attest to the arts as both indicative of wellbeing and a tool to stimulate wellbeing. A report from Hill Strategies confirms this finding, stating that participants in cultural activities have significantly better results when reporting on their health verses non-cultural participants. The data in the report shows that there is a strong connection between 18 cultural activities and eight indicators of health and well-being[3].

With all of this data (and believe me, there is way more than I can list in this short note) it becomes evident that investment and support of the arts has a direct correlation to how we live and how we experience happiness, economic vitality, and wellbeing in our community. With this in mind, I encourage every citizen to put arts on the table when choosing your candidates for this upcoming election. Voting and engaging your candidates in a conversation about the arts and culture in your community will make all the difference as we work together to make Guelph one of Canada's great creative cities!

Sonya Poweska, Executive Director

Guelph Arts Council

[1]Statistics Canada,Culture Satellite Account, 2014.

[2] Research Resolutions & Consulting,Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, 2013.

[3]Hill Strategies, The Arts and Individual Well-Being in Canada, 2013.

Guelph Election Candidates Respond to #ArtsVote

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 http://mariapezzanoforward1.blogspot.ca/.../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: http://www.martincollier.ca/bold-ideas.html#heritagearts

 

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.  

www.facebook.com/muralsofhope

http://www.niagarathisweek.com/whatson-story/3296847-murals-come-from-sian-s-passion-for-art/

http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/3294836-mural-at-deer-park-enshrines-grimsby-couple-s-love-story/</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 http://in2artgallery.com/index.php/home. 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 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) will be summarized on Monday.

 

Just remember to get out and vote!

Another Amazing Season for Tea and Tales

Friday, August 29, saw the conclusion of another successful year of Tea and Tales at the Guelph Enabling Garden in Riverside park. Tea and Tales is a collaboration between the garden and the Guelph Guild of Storytellers. Since 2007, every Friday morning in July and August, an array of storytellers and entertainers come from all over Ontario to entertain local residents, guests, and casual passersby.

Tea-and-Tales-Sept-30 2014



These events are admission free and even come with your choice of tea. Donations gratefully accepted. Run entirely by volunteers, Tea and Tales success is a testament to the community in which it is held. Organizer and storyteller, Brian Holstein, calls it a “connection point for the community, a place to activate the imagination, and plant the seeds for community connections.” The Enabling Garden is located behind the Evergreen Seniors’ Centre and is already a space dedicated to inclusiveness and accessibility. What better location to draw in the community for a morning of entertainment? This week’s send-off show featured storytellers Frank Toplin, Brian Holstein, and musician Tannis Slimmon. A rapt audience of all ages sat by the river under cover of shade and was taken on one adventure after another. This amazing community collaboration is truly one of Guelph’s hidden gems. Here’s to many more successful seasons!

 
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