Candidate: Hilda MacDonald
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
In Leamington, we have a thriving art gallery and corresponding art supporters; the Bank theatre that is on the cusp of having a brand new refurbished building available to offer local talent a great venue for their talent; an outdoor amphitheater that will be showcasing local, county and big name talent.
Our multicultural diversity has resulted in a number of festivals and celebrations that feature the many ethnicities represented in our municipality. Cinco de Mayo, Noche Mexicano, to name a few.
We have a heritage committee that is working at compiling a list of heritage homes and buildings that will eventually result in a heritage walking tour of our community. Further outreach into the rural community can lead to a driving trail as well.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
By offering current and state of the art facilities, we can offer artists venues that are normally only available in larger centres.
By continuing to support arts and culture through grants, we can ensure the sustainability of such venues like the art gallery.
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?
Arts and culture has taken a back seat to sports for a long time in much of the county. But it has always been a crucial attraction factor for big cities. Smaller centres have come to realize that it is the whole picture that attracts new residents. If we want growth, we need to offer these key attractors to everyone.
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?
It is a new day with a new government in power provincially and in Leamington, we will be getting a new representative at the federal level, so the time is right to build new relationships with these upper levels of government with an emphasis on arts and culture. Lobbying via meetings with these upper levels is important. Encouraging grant applications by our partners with support by council is another avenue for funding dollars. I will continue to advocate for grant dollars with the new council coming in for the next term.
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?
Encouraging and assisting our arts and culture stakeholders to apply for funding grants and consequently support by council is key to collaboration on all fronts. Many times offering matching dollars from supporters shows upper levels the degree of support to arts and culture from council. Again, new governments offer new opportunities for all.
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
I attend functions put on by the Leamington Art Gallery as well as the Bank Theatre. I have taken part in numerous festivals put on by associations like the Mexican Consulate, the Migrant Workers Association, our various clubs like the Roma Club, the Portuguese club, to name a few. Our musical venues in Leamington are second to none in the county. My husband and I are frequent attendees at many of the outdoor musical events during the summer season. I enjoy the Windsor Symphony concerts put on throughout the county the entire year.