What We Asked The Candidates: An Arts & Culture All-Candidates Survey

Citizens in Metro Vancouver’s 24 cities, municipalities, villages and districts go to the polls on Saturday, November 19th to elect their respective mayors, city councilors and, in Vancouver, park board commissioners.

To ensure that arts and culture are part of the campaign conversation, the Alliance for Arts and Culture has developed a survey to ask the positions of candidates on arts, culture, and heritage issues facing the creative sector in our society and local communities.

All candidates have been asked the following questions: 

  1. How do local governments, with increasing demands on their core service budgets, maintain or grow the cultural programs in their communities?

  2. Will you commit to maintain or increase the current arts funding in your community? (a: maintain; b) increase;  c) other … with the option of explaining further).
     
  3. Will you take an active role on behalf of your community in lobbying senior levels of government to maintain or increase levels of funding for the arts, culture and heritage? (a: maintain; b) increase;  c) other … with the option of explaining further).

  4. Culture is an easy target when hard budget decisions must be made. How would you defend your support of funding for the arts in the face of further cutbacks?

  5. It has been said that many points in the available arts and culture platforms are "objective driven" (specific projects) and don't really speak to an overall vision of the role of culture in a civil society. Outline your own vision of culture's place in our communities and how, as an elected representative, you will support that vision.

  6. How do local governments, with increasing demands on their core service budgets, maintain or grow the cultural programs in their communities?

Survey questions were developed in consultation with artists and cultural workers in several constituencies. Five of those constitutencies (see below) also submitted additional questions specific to their community concerns.

For candidates in Vancouver, we have asked:

  1. COPE, NPA and Vision have all endorsed policies for artists' studios. What these policies typically lack are measurable targets for preservation or allocation of suitable creative space; and reference to specific public policy options that can be used to either regulate the real estate market or to preserve exciting spaces. What are the available policy options -- that haven't been used yet -- and how can they be used to stem the loss of studios and other creative spaces?
  2. Do you support funding an upgrade to the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Register?
  3. The post-Olympic effect on arts organizations is very similar to the struggles artists and arts organizations have had in other host cities, and in Vancouver post-Expo -- a dramatic cut in public and private sector funding. Can you name one initiative that you would most like to see implemented to help Vancouver arts organizations build on the successes of the City's creative sector?

Candidates in the District of North Vancouver have been asked:

  1. How would you see incorporating arts and culture into the proposed enhanced network of Town Centres?
  2. Would you like to see a new North Vancouver Museum built, and where should it be located?

We have asked City of North Vancouver candidates:

  1. Presentation House and Gallery are exploring future options that may include remaining where they are or relocating. What would you like to see done with Presentation House, and where should the current organizations be located?
  2. Do you agree with Lower Lonsdale being designated a cultural precinct, and what would you like to see there?
  3. The City has had a successful Public Art Program for more than ten years, resulting in one of the most impressive inventories among similar sized Canadian cities. How would you like to see the program evolve over the next ten years?

New Westminster candidates have been asked:

  1. New Westminster has many community arts and festival events throughout the year. Would you support the use of existing City promotional and advertising opportunities to include the marketing of community arts and cultural events?

Candidates in Richmond have been asked:

  1. For City of Richmond initiatives and partnerships involving the Arts, how do you feel about Richmond artists being given priority over those from other communities?
  2. How will you address the lack of sufficient performing arts facilities in Richmond?
  3. The City of Richmond has recognized the economic value of arts and culture by creating a separate grant program and funding stream which will be implemented this fall. The arts community is celebrating this new initiative. However, the initial per capita funding level is far below other municipalities. Are you in favour of increasing this funding on an annual basis to bring it to within similar levels of other jurisdictions within the next five years? Please explain.

Results from this survey, which went to all mayoral and council candidates and Vancouver’s Park Board candidates, continue to come in. The Alliance for Arts and Culture will announce the responses on Tuesday, November 15.

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