Candidate: Adam Castle
Ward: Ward 5
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
A livable, lovable city is one filled to the brim with arts and culture. Cities around the world that embrace the arts, thrive. Beyond that there is a business case to be made, that strong creative and cultural capitol strengthens business, and encourages investment. In my time working at the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation, after extensive community collaboration, I authored a report geared towards increasing investment and development of our local music scene.
The full report can be found here: http://www.choosewindsoressex.com/sites/default/files/files/Music_Strategy_Report_NEW%20Reduced%20Size.pdf
I also sat as Co-chair on the Windsor-Essex Music Advisory Council, and on the Board for the Windsor Music Archive.
Some of the initiatives that were uncovered, that I believe would help to bolster the already amazing work, of our cities Arts, Culture and Heritage department include:
- An overhaul of city and county level policy, to ensure our region runs as “arts and culture” friendly as possible. This includes ideas like designated loading areas in front of local venues to eliminate artist parking violation costs, and including a minimum % of wall space in all new city builds that would be reserved for local artists.
- Allowing for an increase in the overall budget to the Arts Culture and Heritage fund. I have sat on the Judiciary committee for this run for two, year long terms. And the impact the program has on our quality of life offers a remarkable return on investment.
- Provide enhanced resources to local artists such as educational workshops, and opportunities to connect to much larger arts communities across Canada and the Globe, that helps them to plug in to wider and broader audiences. We can also provide education on how to develop working business models around art, and help artists think as small businesses. I know the ACWR already holds “Arts at Work” workshops and I would love to find additional funding to help them to deliver more.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
Youth retention and attraction is not just an arts and culture issue. It’s a Windsor issue, and I truly believe it all starts by working hard to create a sense of place, that allows residents to feel not only a sense of belonging, but a sense of ownership over their city. countless studies show that the best way to increase tourism, is not to build expensive and hard to manage attractions, but to work on the quality of life for existing citizens. Art and culture plays an absolutely vital role in this, in fact, I don’t think it can be done without it. Windsor is also not as affordable as it once was advertised to be. The incentivization for developers to create new, affordable housing in our core neighborhoods is paramount to the success of keeping and attracting this dynamic workforce. I would strongly support the development of “tiny homes” and the employment of work/live mixed use commercial buildings, where culture workers could sell their goods on the first floor, and live in loft style units above. This model isn’t new, it’s already being used in smart cities around the world, and it’s something I believe our city needs to consider very closely.
What role do you see for arts and culture in the promotion of the region both as a destination for tourists and as a place of permanent residence for youth, families, and retirees?
The arts and culture in our city is already touted as being one of our electorates favorite things. We have multiple award winning festivals and events that all center around A&C, and it is majorly because of those existing exhibitions. We have a rich history as the birthplace of radio top-40, an exceptional culinary scene, and incredible local artists in every medium. When cities provide opportunities and occasions to celebrate culture, not only do residents win, but so do visitors. To bring it back to my point from the previous question, we need to be creating these spaces and places and opportunities for our residents first, tourism, workforce attraction, investment, it all flows from that simple concept. People first.
In what other ways could you use your position as an elected official to help support the arts, culture and heritage sector outside of using municipal funding?
There are both provincial and federal levels of arts funding that we can apply for. In my experience working with government, I would love to work closely with our local arts community, the arts and culture department at city hall, and engaged citizens to create proposals and leverage funding opportunities. I also think that industry has a great role to play in the support of our arts and culture. It provides an exceptional quality of life for their employees. I know many organizations, and unions already support our arts. I would be constantly on the look out for new opportunities to bring in industry partners to help support A&C, as I believe they are so vital to creating a Windsor that truly works for everyone.
What is your perspective on the best ways to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure sustainability and growth for the cultural sector of our community?
Our local ACWR has an incredible connection to the arts and various levels of government that deal with arts and culture. I would be interested in exploring options to increase their resources, or consolidate resources throughout the city, to ensure they have the tools needed to do more of the amazing work they do.
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
Author – Windsor-Essex Music Strategy Report
Board Member – Windsor Music Archive
Co-Chair – Windsor Essex Music Advisory Council
2 Time judge – Arts Culture Heritage Fund
My Commitment to the arts and culture in general is resolute. We don’t need to look far or hard to see that investments and support of creative industries results in incredible results. The cities hitting the highest growth targets in the demographics we want to attract are doing so by using arts and culture not as a passive interest, but as a strategy. They keep people engaged, they beautify our city, and they can transform spaces and places that have long been neglected. They also have a large role to play in attracting high skilled workers, and high dollar investment. If our city government is a body, city council a mind, our business community a heart, then surely arts and culture is the soul, and the essence of what makes our city bright, and lively, and livable.
Want to hear more of my thoughts on cultural and creative capitol?- Check out my #FridaysInThe5 video – https://www.facebook.com/CastleOnCouncil/videos/282394579157383/
For more information, please visit me online at www.AdamCastle.Ca, or call me directly. – 226 246 0287