Candidate: Jim Morrison
Ward: Ward 10
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
The biggest opportunity for growth is October 22nd. Not only is voting important, but ACTIVELY encouraging others to vote and helping out candidates who support the arts. There are 4 Advanced poll days remaining in Windsor, along with election day. Call every one of your members and encourage them to vote. Encourage them to volunteer for candidates who support the arts. Engage with them one on one. A survey and a web posting, social media post or email with the results or email are not enough.
Without that support and votes on Council, the arts will continue to struggle in Windsor.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
My platform outlines two specific, immediate and achievable goals to increase funding for the sector. First is shifting the Sports Tourism position to TWEPI, along with the responsibility of funding it (from the new Hotel Tax). The $400,000 over four years currently spent on Sports Tourism is to be redirected to a 2nd tier of larger and possibly long term funding for Windsor’s Art, Cultural and Heritage fund. Single year $25,000 grants or multi-year declining $30,000 grants (funding declining by 1/3rd each year) would be made available to facilitate deeper development of projects in Windsor as opposed to the often one off nature of the current smaller grant program. Secondly, we would cease sponsorship of the Detroit Grand Prix and redirect that $50,000 a year in funding to creating a local Street Art festival. In collaboration with organizations and local businesses, the potential exists to grow that festival from a local one to a destination event. Complete details are available at https://www.voteforjim.ca/arts_and_culture. In the longer term, Windsor must commit to increasing it’s per capita funding from it’s current level of $1.07 to that of our contemporaries, London and Hamilton at $5.01 and $5.79 respectively and eventually to reach the Provincial average of $7.52 . To achieve this goal will require education, planning and outreach to the community at large.
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?
Currently, I don’t see a role for arts and culture in the promotion of the region, mainly because we lack the groundwork, the research, the goals and an actionable plan to give us a path to effectively accomplish that mission. While increased funding is one part of the answer, it is only one factor of many. I would like to work with Windsor and Region’s art community, TWEPI and other interested community organizations and businesses over the next 4 years to develop a realistic actionable plan to achieve both goals from an Arts and Culture perspective.
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?
In the short term, my own participation in the Arts and Culture scene can be used to highlight various artists and organizations, the opportunities to experience arts, cultural and heritage experiences in Windsor. Through my website and social media channels I will actively support and help spread the word about the many and diverse offerings available in our region. In the long term, I’m open to ideas, beyond funding, where my support could have a positive effect.
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?
To be honest, I need feedback and suggestions from the arts, cultural and heritage community in order to effectively accomplish this goal. Simply lobbying for more funding from Provincial and Federal governments is trodding a well worn path with mixed results.
One of the biggest areas for improvement in this regard can be found at the local level through our own Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation. There needs to be an awareness on City Council, and at WEEDC, that the arts, culture and heritage sector is a viable vehicle for the economic diversification that Windsor has long sought. Does WEEDC have the required knowledge of the sector in order to promote it, have a designated staff member to accomplish this task and do they have a plan for the arts, culture and heritage sector as it relates to the economic development of Windsor?
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
I’m a current supporter of WIFF and look forward to each year’s event. Along with my wife I enjoy attending new exhibits at the Art Gallery of Windsor and at several private galleries. Art in the Park is another long standing Windsor event I try to make it to each year.