Candidate: Barb Holland
Ward: Ward 7
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
Working with schools, the college and universities to encourage young people to embrace the arts, appreciate our cultural diversity and understand and celebrate our history goes a long way to plant a seed and develop a different lens through which they view the world, their place in it and the gifts they have to enhance what is already present. Making those connections early is important so that they participate in and support and ask for growth in this area as they begin their own families. On the other end of the spectrum, working with those over the age of 55, determining their needs in this area and providing opportunities and invitations to participate and support, will go a long way in ensuring our city is age friendly and responsive. They have a lot to share.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
By collaborating with business, education, industry, government and service clubs to ensure available grants are accessed, that new monies are developed, that new patrons are sought and that opportunities to express artistic and cultural endeavours of all kinds are available within the region. Festivals, closed street events, showcase events, sponsored events and a multitude of other creative ideas, best suggested by those vested in the art/culture field and supported by those who enjoy the enhancement to our quality of life, are possible through collaboration. Pop up satellite events in busy locations like our mall or at already established community events, could provide the general population with a taste of what is available leading to further support for those who provide service in these important areas. Listening to the voices of those who work in these fields is crucial when determining a strategy to implement, change or enhance.
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?
As a draw for tourists, I think this is currently in its infancy and I often wonder if tie-ins to other tourist markets, like the wine industry, craft beer and our liquor industry, would be beneficial to all. If people are not drawn to arts and culture in a particular location, then perhaps bringing those genres to places where people do go, would have value. As tourists, my husband and I have sought out these types of opportunities when travelling and it is those memorable moments that we remember. I would like to see growth in this area in our region. As a place for permanent residence, arts and culture, the very things that make a city liveable and enjoyable, is a major factor in relocating. Again, a regional approach in this regard could be beneficial when all are dealing with limited budgets that require creative, yet realistic solutions that benefit all. Connections are key.
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?
Connections are important and having the ability to find them, build them and maintain a relationship with them is crucial when trying to fund specific activities and programs. There are civic minded individuals, groups, businesses, profit and not for profits who have interest in supporting and giving back to the community. Often there is a lack of knowledge in terms of what is required and what can be accomplished that when addressed, can be achieved in a long terms strategic fashion or as a one time means of support. Making the introductions, helping build the connection and acting as a conduit is one way to use my position as an elected official in a positive manner without using municipal funding.
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?
I have 18 years of experience as an elected trustee and Board Chair and have honed that particular skill with outstanding results at both the regional, provincial and federal level. While looking for the short term immediate hit is always an attractive option, I have found that the long terms goals often bear the most fruit and the most stable support for the growth desired and intended. As a Business woman, I have also worked with owners in the city, in the county and beyond and have learned to understand the timing of requests and the impact on budget and taxation for the supporter. As a woman who has also led charitable organizations, I also understand the nuances of grant applications and how to work with both the beneficiary and the government to ensure funds flow in a way that meets the criteria of both the lender and the recipients. I would bring all of these skill sets to bear as a collaborative leader.
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
I am heavily vested in music and believe it is a reflection of who we are and who we can be. It allows us to unlock our creative soul which in turn feeds our collective wisdom. I am quoted in a radio interview by David Gutnick, CBC Radio, called “Why One School Board Believes Studying Music is Essential for All’, (March 2018) where I state succinctly that every child needs to be exposed to music as much as they are to math, english and science, and I believe that and live that. My husband and I have actively supported the Windsor Optimist Youth Band for years and the music has served to enhance our children’s education and their ability to think creatively which in turn has benefitted them in their careers of choice and in their personal lives to this day. As an elected trustee with the fiduciary responsibility to dispense funding strategically to enhance student learning, I have exercised that role in way which ensures that our music program has continued to grow, that actual musicians are employed to teach and that we liaise with the Windsor Symphony to expose our children at the Board to the wonder of music at a time when most school boards in Ontario are cutting music and arts programs. While I support all art, culture and the richness of our heritage, music is my love be it symphony, music at the river, in the park or on our city patios. To me, all of the arts are as necessary as breathing and enhancing that, will make our city a wonderful place to live for people of every age.