On a personal note, I have permission to share a personal detail about my spouse. My wife has a B.FA in theatre from York University, so I am well aware that there is great value in being a patron of the arts. Which is why I am a big proponent of the city’s Arts and Culture Master Plan, and will work to see its implementation.
But there is more work to do and building from the plan is a long term priority.
One of the mysteries of the last four years has been “what are you planning?” in reference to City Hall. When I was speaking with staff at the Beaux Arts Gallery on Main Street, it was shocking to me that no one had even communciated the status of the sale of the Robson Block to the Beaux Art Executive. Is it sold? If so, when are things moving? If not, what next? I will work to change the city’s relationship with the arts community. Communication will be a priority for me moving forward.
In addition, i believe we need to work with our artistic community to create more “maker spaces.” Be it performance art, visual arts, photography, stand up comedy, theatre, cgi, animation, music, film, etc., developing spaces for artists to practice their craft can only help elevate the careers of our artists; and in fact, the city’s reputation as well. After all, the arts bring as much attention to our city as our Sports Teams, if not more. I’ll put Russell Peters and Alessia Cara up against The Beast any day in terms of elevating our city’s profile.
Be it through partnerships with Sheridan, Algoma or our Library system, I believe there are numerous ways we can find spaces within our existing infrastructure to support both professional and amateur arts; in addition to finding more long range maker space opportunities. I would point out that there has been very vocal support for “Lab B”, a business incubator space; so it only follows that a model can be developed to create an artistic incubator space as well. I am excited to work on such an initiative.
The arts pay dividends in civic pride, enhancing our external reputation, and if managed intelligently, direct tangible economic benefits as well.
Let’s Take Action in support of the arts, let’s elect Wesley Jackson.