As Calgary gets amped up for its civic election, locals get bombarded with lawn-sign pollution with unfamiliar faces and names. So, in the spirit of combating my own civic election ignorance, I thought I would do my research on a) what ward I’m in and b) what candidates in my and neighbouring wards have to say about arts and culture.
As it turns out, I’m in Ward 9 (which I found out thanks to this city of Calgary ward finder).
Since I try to focus this blog on arts and culture, I was curious to figure out what my ward’s candidates, and the candidates from the city’s core, had to say about budgeting and advocacy for the arts. Carra’s profile immediately intrigued me, and not only because he was on Sesame Street as a kid. Although, some could argue, that that could be grounds enough for re-election. Carra spent many of his formative years in New York and graduated from LaGuardia Arts School, has a B.A. in history, and an Urban Design degree. All of the signs read Carra supports the arts.
A useful website on the topic of Calgary Votes 2013 and the arts is artsvote. It outlines why it is important for artists and voters in general to be having conversations with candidates about their position on arts and culture. Candidates have an opportunity to fill out a survey about their stance and submit it to the artsvote website. For Ward 9, Carra is the only candidate who has filled out the survey. Here is more evidence that Carra suports the arts:
“...before being elected I pioneered the granting of spaces to artists with the creation of Pith Gallery and Studios and I fought hard against all kinds of regulatory barriers in support of the creation of the Inglewood Art Block and it’s amazing Esker Gallery. “
The other wards I was interested in checking out were the central wards of 7 & 8. In Ward 7 Druh Farrell is the current Alderman. Aside from her fabulous first name, Farrell has made some impressive contributions to the city in her 4-years as Alderman. Most relevant to the arts is her work with the Heritage Strategy which aims to preserve historic sites. For Ward 7, 3 out of 4 candidates had taken the artsvote survey. Running against Farrell are Brent Alexander, Joylin Nodwell, and Kevin Taylor.
A memorable quote from Farrell’s survey:
“I was one of three members of Council who helped establish the Calgary Arts Development Authority and the City’s arts strategy.”
Ian Newman. All three participated in the artsvote survey. All three candidates say investing in the arts valuable.
Some memorable quotes from Ward 8 include:
“…for the past three consecutive years, I was proud to have supported the Calgary ArtsPlan which will ensure that we have a consistent and long term plan for reinvesting in our Arts community.” ~ John Mar
“As the Transportation Director for Sled Island Music & Arts festival for over 5 years I worked hard to promote local musicians, as well as the city of Calgary as a growing cultural centre.” ~Evan Woolley
Finally, I was curious about what the mayor, Naheed Nenshi, had to say about the arts. Nenshi seems passionate about the arts and combines this with his push for secondary suite allowance when he says, “It is so important that we create multi housing options for citizens. We need safe and affordable housing to encourage the arts.” (artsvote)
Another memorable quote by Nenshi about the arts is, “I have been a supporter of the arts in Calgary my whole life, having served as Chair of the EPCOR CENTRE, and having done graduate work in the area of nonprofit arts management.”
Candidates in the downtown core and their stances on the arts, alongside other important issues such as improving public transportation and affordable housing, continue to influence voters. Some useful tools to be an informed voter on the issues that are important to you are: