#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
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 Potters Market Guelph & District Multicultural Festival Inc.
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.
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?
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. 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.
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.
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
Statistics Canada,Culture Satellite Account, 2014.
 Research Resolutions & Consulting,Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile, 2013.
Hill Strategies, The Arts and Individual Well-Being in Canada, 2013.