Candidate: Katie McGuire-Blais
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
Harrow is rich with culture and heritage, I wish to see that maintained and restored. I believe with County Rd 50 being a great stretch for our winery tours, it would be a great place for our artists to display and set up small boutiques for tourists to browse while touring the wineries.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
I would love to see more events where local artists of all genres can display and preform their art. The municipality of Essex has the Music in the park events that are great for musical artist, but I would like to see more “art in the park” type events where we can browse what our local artists have to offer.
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?
I believe adding those small boutiques along County Rd 50 near the wineries is an ideal place for local artists to display and sell their work to tourists. I would also like to see more “pop up” art galleries to help promote our local artists and get people of all ages coming to view it. I think it would be great for grade school’s and high school students to come and see the art their neighbors have created.
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?
I think by being an art lover alone will help. We should lead by example and if I can show my constituents the benefits of coming out to see local art, and enriching my children’s lives with it, possibly they will try it out themselves. I also love promoting local artists on social media and I believe this is a great avenue to reach a large amount of people who might not otherwise hear about local events.
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?
Reaching out and inviting other levels of government to see the rich culture we have here. If we make it something to display and something to be proud of it will help other levels of government pay attention. We have to be proud of what we display and we have to be ready. I also believe in the power of media, and I think we should start promoting our events and our accomplishments in the media to let others know what great things Essex is doing.
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
I love visiting the museum in Windsor, and I would love to see more around the county so others can enjoy art the same way I do. I like taking my boys on a “mural hunt” on nice days in the spring and fall we walk around downtown Essex and look for all the different murals and talk about them, my boys love going home afterwards and trying to make their own. The Heritage parks we have available here are amazing and one of my favorites is the Heritage Village on Arner Townline, I love exploring the tiny village with my family.