1.) What is your vision for the arts in the City of Lethbridge?
I believe that we have a great appreciation for creative expression within Lethbridge. As such, my vision includes a stronger relationship between artists and our residents, where artistic expression evokes discussion and dialogue, and where residents celebrate creativity and the creative process. My vision for the arts in Lethbridge includes tapping into and exploiting any opportunity to highlight our local talent and our infrastructure.
2.) What do you see as the benefits of investing in the arts, and what do you believe is the City of Lethbridge's role in arts investment?
My opinion of arts investment has not changed, over this past term. Supporting arts infrastructure ensures that artists have the opportunity to promote their work and their craft within the public realm. Additionally, supporting arts infrastructure demonstrates Council’s commitment to preserving the artistic record of our community, and Council’s commitment to creating new records of our local identity. Finally, we must clearly articulate any investment in the arts, with measurable outcomes and benefits for our community, since investing in the arts puts creativity in the public space. Doing so can broaden the public’s appreciation and understanding of artisitic expressions, while demonstrating the value of our investment.
3.) Please share your thoughts on public art and its role in our community.
I have shared this story here before: When I served on City Council in the mid-1990s, another councillor and I would often discuss the monthly art exhibit hanging in council chambers. Because we had different tastes in visual art - I preferred the Impressionists: he preferred dogs playing poker ... in velvet - we would passionately discuss the representations we each saw. To me, this is the purpose of public art, as it ought to play the role of teacher, storyteller and provocateur for the narratives within our community. Public art ought
to engage citizens in a way that makes them think – even challenge - the creative representation of our thoughts, ideas, values and beliefs. As a bonus to its creative value, public art can also produce revenue (and livelihoods) within our community, when properly invested.
4.) The City of Lethbridge has recently completed the SAAG expansion project as well as the construction of the new arts centre Casa. Yet to be completed is the project to construct a new performing arts theatre. Do you believe a new performing arts theatre is necessary for our community and if so, how would you support the realization of this project?
While I do believe that performing arts spaces in Lethbridge are sorely lacking, we cannot replicate the process the City used to build the new community arts centre. Any new arts infrastructure must have a business case thoroughly considered and developed, clearly outlining the purpose and intent of a new facility. The business case would also include the strategy and operating structure of the facility, clearly identifying realistic revenues and expenses associated with the project. I believe that it is incumbent upon City Council and our community to creatively seek alternative funding, development and operational considerations in partnership with the public and private sectors. As a member of City Council, I would work within this creative process to ensure that the vision and objective of the project remains focused on serving the needs of both our local artists and the broader Lethbridge community.