Candidate: Lori Wightman
What opportunities do you believe Windsor-Essex has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
I believe Windsor-Essex has great potential to be an art and cultural mecca. We have the beauty, we have the artists – we just need to work together to make it a part of our community identity. For Amherstburg, this could be working with local artists at our numerous festivals, encouraging local talent, supporting our many museums and continuing to support local artisans through our Art by the River event.
How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
I would love to see Amherstburg and it’s events/festivals include more of our local talent – promote them and showcase them. I would love to see us look into the possibility of another art based event in addition to Art by the River, something along the lines of Art Walks that I’ve seen in other cities. This all leads to community pride, resident engagement which in turn makes our town better.
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?
Art transcends age or demographics – it’s a further attraction as well. The time has come that municipalities have to look past their one draw and branch out. Amherstburg is, of course, historic but we need to expand to be outdoorsy, scenic, and artsy. We need to use our shops, our restaurants, our breweries and distilleries and our museums as part of our identities
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?
Promotion, promotion, promotion – elected officials are ambassadors for their municipalities. That job includes promoting and encouraging the things that make our towns successful – we need to put our best face forward, engage our citizens and make them feel that is THEIR town as opposed to just THE town. And what better way to do that than to highlight their skills.
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?
In addition to grants and funding, we need to work together with different levels of government who are parts of our community – Fort Malden in Amherstburg is an example.
How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Windsor-Essex?
Personally I am a big fan of artisans, most likely because I have very little skill in that area myself. I try to support events that showcase our local artists, I am always interested in local talent in music and I would love to encourage more of that in our municipality.